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Trail Blazers fall 109-95 to Thunder

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers dug themselves a hole too big to crawl out of Tuesday, falling 109-95 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of 20,626 at the Rose Garden.  

    The Trail Blazers allowed a 65.9 percent shooting performance by the Thunder in the first half and were outrebounded 24-12, leading to a 65-47 halftime lead for the visitors.  

    “(A) 32 point first quarter, 33 point second quarter … we didn’t bring our hard hats in the first half to defend,” said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. “I thought defensively, we let them get in a rhythm.”  

    Portland (23-27) gave an inspired comeback effort in the third quarter, fighting back to within five points, 71-66, with a 17-2 run over five minutes of play midway through the period.  

    “I thought we did a great job as a team to respond and come out in the third quarter and win that quarter,” Canales said. “You have to give them credit; they made plays down the stretch.”  

    Oklahoma City (38-12) pushed the lead back to nine points headed into the final stanza, where Russell Westbrook took over, going 5-of-5 from the field for 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Thunder extended for the final margin.  

    JJ Hickson led the way for Portland with 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting off the bench. He was perfect on his first eight attempts and added four rebounds and three steals.  

    “He fits in well,” said LaMarcus Aldridge of Hickson. “He’s a good scorer and we have good sets for him, so he’s fitting in well.”  

    Aldridge was next for the Trail Blazers with 20 points and a team-high eight rebounds, followed by Wesley Matthews with 17 points and four steals.  

    Westbrook led the Thunder with 32 points and a game-high eight assists, followed by Kevin Durant with 25 points and six rebounds. James Harden added 21 points and five assists off the bench.  

    Nolan Smith started in place of Raymond Felton, who was away tending to a family matter and tallied three points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal. Smith was the 10th different starter the Trail Blazers have utilized this season.

    Jonny Flynn saw his first extended minutes of the season for the Trail Blazers since being traded from Houston, and notched 10 points and a team-high five assists splitting time with Smith at the point guard position.  

    Portland wraps up its current homestand against the New Orleans Hornets Thursday, 7 p.m., at the Rose Garden. The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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