Blazers, Thunder clash in OKC

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers had a five-game winning streak snapped last time out, but will try to end their road trip on a positive note Tuesday when they visit Chesapeake Energy Arena to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LaMarcus Aldridge sat out Monday's 110-95 loss to the Houston Rockets due to an illness. The Blazers couldn't handle James Harden, who scored 44.

Damian Lillard needed 16 shots to score 18 points for the Blazers. C.J. McCollum scored a season-high 17 off the bench, followed by 14 from Wesley Matthews and 13 out of Meyers Leonard.

The Rockets led by four after the first quarter, but exploded in the second quarter. Houston outpaced Portland, 36-20, during that frame to bust the game open.

"We didn't give them much resistance in the first half...and we weren't able to mount a legitimate comeback," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said.

The Blazers return home following Tuesday's tilt for a seven-game homestand. Portland will host the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.

Portland owns an 8 1/2 game lead over the Thunder in the Northwest Division.

The Thunder dropped two of their last three, including a tough road loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

Kevin Durant sprained his ankle in that one and hasn't played since. He missed a win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday and a home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Durant is listed as day-to-day.

The Thunder couldn't stop Anthony Davis and there's no shame in that. Davis guided the Pelicans to a 101-99 victory over OKC.

The Thunder regained possession with 10 seconds left following a Pelicans shot clock violation. Russell Westbrook got the ball at the top of the arc and dribbled to the left elbow before Jrue Holiday poked it away.

Westbrook got it back at the 3-point line and rose for the triple from straightaway and the ball clanked off the front of the rim. Tyreke Evans came down with the rebound after Serge Ibaka's tip attempt was off the mark to seal the outcome.

Westbrook tallied 29 points and eight assists.

"My job's to stay in attack mode and try to score," Westbrook said. "If I miss then I miss."

Reggie Jackson netted 19 points off the bench for Oklahoma City. Perry Jones, who started in place of Durant, finished with 12, as did Steven Adams, who also pulled down 10 boards.

The Thunder head to San Antonio on Christmas Day for a critical matchup with the defending champs.

The Blazers beat the Thunder in Portland on Oct. 29, but OKC has dominated this series in recent history. Oklahoma City has won two of three and nine of the last 12 versus Portland and four of five as the host.