Durant scores 46, leads Thunder past Trail Blazers
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kevin Durant scored 11 of his 46 points in the final 3:23 to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Portland Trail Blazers 105-97 on Tuesday night.
Durant has scored at least 30 points for eight consecutive games, the longest such streak of his career. He made 17 of 25 field goals, including 6 of 7 3-pointers.
Reggie Jackson added 15 points for Oklahoma City (32-10), which took a one-game lead over Portland in the Northwest Division. Portland had won the previous two meetings this season.
Oklahoma City improved to 9-5 since point guard Russell Westbrook was taken out of the lineup after having surgery on his right knee.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and 16 rebounds and Wesley Matthews added 21 points for Portland (31-11).
Oklahoma City held Portland point guard Damian Lillard to 14 points, well below his average of 21.4 points per game.
Portland led 93-90 when Durant was called for an offensive foul. Durant didn't like the call, and after Kendrick Perkins was called for a foul, Durant, still frustrated, hit the scorer's table and was issued a technical foul. Portland made two of the three free throws to go up by five. A fired-up Durant responded with a layup, then a 3-pointer to tie the score with 2:52 remaining.
Durant hit another 3 with 48 seconds left to give the Thunder a 102-95 lead, then he hit another with 26.8 seconds remaining to ice the game.
Portland led 48-40 late in the second quarter before Durant sparked a rally with a 3-pointer. The Thunder took the lead with 8.3 seconds left in the first half on a jumper by Thabo Sefolosha, but Lillard responded with a layup with 0.2 seconds left to give the Trail Blazers a 52-51 lead at the break. Portland shot 57 percent in the first half. Durant scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting in the first half, but his teammates shot 13-for-38.
Durant's jumper early in the second half finally gave the Thunder the lead, but the Trail Blazers handled the surge. A 3-pointer by Nicolas Batum and a bucket from Aldridge gave Portland a 67-62 lead and caused Oklahoma City to call a timeout.
The Trail Blazers extended their lead to 75-66, but again, the Thunder closed out a quarter strong. Oklahoma City held Portland scoreless for the last 2:35 of the period. Durant hit a 3-pointer to close the quarter and give the Thunder a 77-75 lead.
NOTES: Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he plans to vote for Lillard as an All-Star. ... Batum had been playing with a broken left middle finger. He aggravated the injury to his non-shooting hand on Monday night against Houston, but played through it. ... Portland scored the first seven points of the game. ... Durant scored 15 in the first quarter. ... Portland shot 59 percent in the first quarter to take a 27-21 lead. ... Aldridge became the first NBA player with at least 11 field goals and 12 rebounds in five straight games Antonio McDyess did it from Jan. 3-10, 2001.
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