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News » Trail Blazers-Thunder Preview 2009-11-01

Trail Blazers-Thunder Preview 2009-11-01

Trail Blazers-Thunder Preview 2009-11-01Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder didn't win their third game until mid-December. They'll get the chance to reach that mark much sooner in 2009-10.

Oklahoma City goes for the franchise's first 3-0 start in six seasons Sunday night, when it hosts a Portland Trail Blazers team that's dropped two straight.

In their first season after relocating from Seattle, the Thunder dropped 24 of their first 26 before finishing with a 23-59 record. Oklahoma City defeated Toronto 91-83 on Dec. 19 for its third victory.

It's been a different story this season. Led by Kevin Durant, who scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City defeated Detroit 91-83 on Friday following a 13-point victory over Sacramento two nights earlier.

"We showed some toughness on the road against a playoff team and passed a big test," Durant, averaging 25.0 points and 11.5 rebounds, said after the win over the Pistons.

Oklahoma City has another test Sunday, when it faces Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy, who scored 42 points on 12-of-20 shooting in Saturday's 111-107 loss to Houston.

It was Roy's second-highest scoring game of his career - trailing a 52-point effort against Phoenix on Dec. 18 - but he was more concerned with the Rockets shooting 50.6 percent from the field.

"Our defense was not very good, right now we're not giving much effort on the defensive end and that's where it starts," Roy said.

Roy averaged 22.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists as the Trail Blazers won three of four against Oklahoma City last season.

The Thunder, though, have a chance for the franchise's first 3-0 start since 2003-04, thanks to a defense that's holding opponents to 38.9 percent shooting and 86.0 points. Last season, Oklahoma City was 27th in the NBA in field goal defense at 47.5 percent and 23rd in points allowed with 103.1.

"We had two defensive games but I understand in this league if you're not consistent with your energy and effort, those things can flip flop pretty easily," coach Scott Brooks told the Thunder's official Web site. "That's why it's important for our guys to stay humble and realize what's giving us a chance to win games."

In his first professional game versus Greg Oden, the first pick in the 2007 draft, Durant, the No. 2 selection, scored 31 points and the Thunder defeated the visiting Trail Blazers 102-93 on Feb. 6.

Oden had four points and two rebounds in that contest, but he averaged 13.3 points and 9.0 rebounds as Portland won the final three matchups with Oklahoma City.

Oden leads the Trail Blazers in rebounding (10.0) and blocks (3.3) this season.

Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points on 13-of-16 shooting Saturday. He had 35 with a career-high 18 rebounds in a 107-72 win at Oklahoma City on April 3.

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, averaging 12.0 points, 11.5 assists and 6.0 rebounds, looks for his third straight double-double.

Oklahoma City lost 12 of its first 13 home games last season.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 1, 2009


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