Aldridge helps Blazers best Thunder
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers are proving their hot start is not a fluke.
Two days after beating the NBA-best Indiana Pacers, the Blazers used an all- around effort from LaMarcus Aldridge to dispose of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 111-104, at Moda Center.
Aldridge finished with 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in leading the Blazers to a seventh straight home victory. Robin Lopez added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Nicolas Batum capped his 14-point night with a back-breaking 3- pointer down the stretch.
"He's the best power forward in the game," Portland forward Wesley Matthews said of Aldridge. "He's got to be getting MVP votes with the way we're playing, with the level he's playing at."
Kevin Durant poured in 33 points to lead the Thunder, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped. Russell Westbrook had 21 points on 7-on-17 shooting in the setback.
"We battled all the way till the end, we just couldn't close it out," Durant said.
Oklahoma City had also won seven in a row against its division rival but failed to keep Portland from improving to 16-3 on the season.
The battle for Northwest Division supremacy fittingly featured 15 ties and 14 lead changes.
The final lead change came with 4:21 remaining when Aldridge scored off the offensive glass, the first of four straight possessions the All-Star forward scored on to carry the Blazers to a 105-100 lead.
Durant and Westbrook each had buckets to pull the Thunder within a point, but Durant missed a corner 3 and Kendrick Perkins was whistled for a moving screen on the next two Oklahoma City possessions.
Batum was left open for a 3-pointer with 29.9 seconds to go after Durant was too slow moving around a pick, and another Durant miss at the other end virtually sealed the outcome.
A tight first quarter ended with the Thunder clinging to a 27-25 lead that grew to as many as 12 in the second following a free-throw heavy 9-0 run in the latter stages.
The Blazers battled back from their 59-48 halftime deficit by scoring 11 of the first 15 points of the third quarter.
Batum's pullup jumper with under 5 1/2 minutes remaining gave Portland its first lead of the second half at 70-69, and the hosts were on top, 83-80, heading to the fourth.
Aldridge shot 17-of-28 from the floor ... Serge Ibaka recorded 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who had a 26-4 advantage in fastbreak points ... Damian Lillard and Matthews chipped in 14 and 13 points, respectively, for the Blazers.
12/05 02:50:23 ET