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News » Durant, Thunder beat Oden, Blazers 2009-02-07

Durant, Thunder beat Oden, Blazers 2009-02-07

Durant, Thunder beat Oden, Blazers 2009-02-07
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Kevin Durant said his first pro matchup with Greg Oden didn't provide him with any extra inspiration.

His performance spoke louder than his words.

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Durant, taken second after Oden in the 2007 draft, scored 31 points and outplayed Portland's center to help Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Trail Blazers 102-93 on Friday.

Oklahoma City (12-38) never trailed and snapped a three-game losing streak. Portland, which had won four of its previous seven road games, fell to 0-4 in Oklahoma City, having also lost three times in the Ford Center during the two seasons the New Orleans Hornets played in the arena.

Brandon Roy led Portland (30-19) with 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists. The Trail Blazers, who had outrebounded their last six opponents, didn't do so against the Thunder, with Oklahoma City holding a 43-37 advantage.

"We played well. We played together," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "We beat one of the best teams we've played all year, one of the best teams in basketball."

Nick Collison and Earl Watson each had a double-double for the Thunder. Collison finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds while Watson came off the bench to record 12 points and 11 assists, the sixth time this season he'd reached double digits in assists.

After trailing by 22 points, the Trail Blazers - who entered the game trailing Northwest Division-leading Denver by 2 1/2 games - rallied in the final minutes but came no closer than eight points late in the fourth quarter.

"We've got to bring it every night and I don't think we're at that level," Roy said. "We played fine in the second half, but why do we have to be down by 20 to do it?

"It's not about making shots. It's about defense. It's about not getting beat on defense."

Oden, from Ohio State, and Durant, a guard out of Texas taken second that year by the Seattle SuperSonics - now the Thunder - had met only once previously, in the 2006 McDonald's All-American high school game.

Brooks downplayed any rivalry angle between Durant and Oden.

"Kevin loves to play basketball," Brooks said. "I don't think he looks at certain games as more important than others."

Still, Friday was a mismatch, and not only because the two play different positions. Durant scored 30-plus points for the 12th time this season and for the third straight game, the first time he'd done that in his pro career. He finished 12 of 25 from the field and had three rebounds.

"It was just a regular game for me," Durant said. "I tried to play with enthusiasm and fire like I always do."

Meanwhile, Oden struggled. He started Friday leading NBA rookies in double-doubles with 14, but he played only 12 minutes in the first half, failing to take a shot and grabbing just two rebounds. He didn't score until making two free throws in the opening minute of the second half, and his first basket - a powerful dunk - didn't come until 8:33 remained in the third quarter.

He quickly picked up his third and fourth fouls while defending Collison and went to the bench for good a minute later after briefly chatting with Durant while they stood awaiting Collison's free throws. Oden finished with four points and two rebounds.

"He's going to be a factor for a lot of years," Brooks said of Oden. "They have a lot of scorers around him."

Jeff Green added 20 points for the Thunder, who shot 50 percent from the field. Travis Outlaw scored 20 and LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 for the Trail Blazers.

"We need more effort," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We need better effort. We got the effort the second half. We won the second half. But we need that effort at the beginning of the game. They came out, they wanted it more. Not that we didn't play, but we have to play harder."

Oklahoma City shot 58.5 percent from the field in the first half and led by as many as 21 points before settling for a 60-40 halftime lead.

A 7-0 first-quarter run by the Thunder put them ahead 21-14 and they gradually extended their advantage from there, matching their season high in first-quarter scoring with 37 points.

The game was delayed 10 minutes in the third quarter after a dunk by Green dislodged part of the net. Green's dunk put Oklahoma City ahead 81-59 with 2:50 left, matching the Thunder's largest lead.

The delay seemed to help Portland, as the Trail Blazers scored nine straight points to make it 81-68 on a bucket by Aldridge with 11:40 left.


McMillan said it's doubtful injured G Steve Blake will return from a shoulder injury by Sunday, when the Trail Blazers host the New York Knicks, "and we'll see after that." ... Thunder C Nenad Krstic didn't suit up for the game because he has the flu ... Oklahoma City G Desmond Mason, whose season ended after hyperextending his knee against Memphis on Jan. 28, said he'll be on crutches for about six weeks as he recovers. ... For about 2 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, the Thunder had three point guards in their lineup - Russell Westbrook, Watson and Chucky Atkins - along with a fourth guard, Kyle Weaver, who has spent time this season at the point. ... Portland's general manager, Kevin Pritchard, is a former Oklahoma high school star from Tulsa.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 7, 2009


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