Thunder eke one out in Portland, extend division lead
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Durant had 36 points and 10 rebounds as Oklahoma City took a 98-95 win over Portland in a Northwest Division battle on Tuesday.
Reggie Jackson scored 17 points with six rebounds and five assists while Jeremy Lamb added 19 points and five rebounds for the Thunder, who have won four of their last five.
Oklahoma City now holds a five-game lead over Portland for first place in the division.
"We had a group full of competitors. We competed. That's what we're about," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "We've always been that way. We don't like to lose. We have a locker room that cares just like Portland. That's a group that competes also."
Nicolas Batum had 18 points, Robin Lopez added 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Damian Lillard gave 16 points and seven assists for the Trail Blazers, who have dropped two of three.
A Lamb 3-pointer with 1:38 to play gave the Thunder a 96-95 lead, and LaMarcus Aldridge and Durant each followed with misses.
After Lillard missed a 3-pointer, Durant's step-back miss was corralled by Aldridge.
Lillard then tried to drive down the left side, but lost the ball out of bounds. A lengthy review upheld the call and Oklahoma City had the ball with 13 seconds left.
Out of the timeout, an inbounds pass by Durant saw him lose the ball, and Portland got the ball back with 12.3 seconds to play.
Getting the ball to Aldridge for a 20-foot jumper, he pump-faked to get the defender out of position, but then missed the clear look and Jackson sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 0.6 seconds left.
"We had shooters on the court and whether LA shoots a jump shot or drives or passes, I can certainly live with the shot. He's made a living making that shot," Portland head coach Terry Stotts said about Aldridge's last shot.
An 11-0 run from Portland in the first quarter helped the team jump out to a 19-6 lead with four minutes to play, but Oklahoma City raced back to cut its deficit to six, 25-19, heading into the second.
The Trail Blazers continued to stay in front for much of the second, but a pair of free throws from Durant followed by a 3-pointer from Lamb gave the Thunder their first lead, 41-39.
Portland, though, closed the half on a 14-2 run and took a 55-45 lead into the break.
Oklahoma City responded with a strong third quarter as the lead bounced back- and-forth in the frame, with it heading to the fourth tied at 80-all.
Portland plays in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Wednesday ... Oklahoma City plays in Los Angeles on Thursday versus the Lakers ... Each team won twice in the season series ... Aldridge had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the loss ... The Thunder shot 48.2 percent in the game, while the Blazers made just 37.6 percent of their shots.