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 Durant outplays Oden, Thunder beat Portland 102-93

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PostSubject: Durant outplays Oden, Thunder beat Portland 102-93   Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:49 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY(AP) Kevin Durant said his first pro matchup with Greg Oden didn't provide him with any extra inspiration.His performance spoke louder than his words.Durant,
taken second after Oden in the 2007 draft, scored 31 points and
outplayed Portland's center to help Oklahoma City Thunder beat the
Trail Blazers 102-93 on Friday.Oklahoma City (12-38) never
trailed and snapped a three-game losing streak. Portland, which had won
four of its previous seven road games, fell to 0-4 in Oklahoma City,
having also lost three times in the Ford Center during the two seasons
the New Orleans Hornets played in the arena.Brandon Roy led
Portland (30-19) with 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists. The
Trail Blazers, who had outrebounded their last six opponents, didn't do
so against the Thunder, with Oklahoma City holding a 43-37 advantage."We
played well. We played together,'' Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks
said. "We beat one of the best teams we've played all year, one of the
best teams in basketball.''Nick Collison and Earl Watson each
had a double-double for the Thunder. Collison finished with 21 points
and 13 rebounds while Watson came off the bench to record 12 points and
11 assists, the sixth time this season he'd reached double digits in
assists.After trailing by 22 points, the Trail Blazers - who
entered the game trailing Northwest Division-leading Denver by 2 1/2
games - rallied in the final minutes but came no closer than eight
points late in the fourth quarter."We've got to bring it every
night and I don't think we're at that level,'' Roy said. "We played
fine in the second half, but why do we have to be down by 20 to do it?"It's not about making shots. It's about defense. It's about not getting beat on defense.''Oden,
from Ohio State, and Durant, a guard out of Texas taken second that
year by the Seattle SuperSonics - now the Thunder - had met only once
previously, in the 2006 McDonald's All-American high school game.Brooks downplayed any rivalry angle between Durant and Oden."Kevin loves to play basketball,'' Brooks said. "I don't think he looks at certain games as more important than others.''Still,
Friday was a mismatch, and not only because the two play different
positions. Durant scored 30-plus points for the 12th time this season
and for the third straight game, the first time he'd done that in his
pro career. He finished 12 of 25 from the field and had three rebounds."It was just a regular game for me,'' Durant said. "I tried to play with enthusiasm and fire like I always do.''Meanwhile,
Oden struggled. He started Friday leading NBA rookies in double-doubles
with 14, but he played only 12 minutes in the first half, failing to
take a shot and grabbing just two rebounds. He didn't score until
making two free throws in the opening minute of the second half, and
his first basket - a powerful dunk - didn't come until 8:33 remained in
the third quarter.He quickly picked up his third and fourth
fouls while defending Collison and went to the bench for good a minute
later after briefly chatting with Durant while they stood awaiting
Collison's free throws. Oden finished with four points and two rebounds."He's going to be a factor for a lot of years,'' Brooks said of Oden. "They have a lot of scorers around him.''Jeff
Green added 20 points for the Thunder, who shot 50 percent from the
field. Travis Outlaw scored 20 and LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 for the
Trail Blazers."We need more effort,'' Portland coach Nate
McMillan said. "We need better effort. We got the effort the second
half. We won the second half. But we need that effort at the beginning
of the game. They came out, they wanted it more. Not that we didn't
play, but we have to play harder.''Oklahoma City shot 58.5
percent from the field in the first half and led by as many as 21
points before settling for a 60-40 halftime lead.A 7-0
first-quarter run by the Thunder put them ahead 21-14 and they
gradually extended their advantage from there, matching their season
high in first-quarter scoring with 37 points.The game was
delayed 10 minutes in the third quarter after a dunk by Green dislodged
part of the net. Green's dunk put Oklahoma City ahead 81-59 with 2:50
left, matching the Thunder's largest lead.The delay seemed to
help Portland, as the Trail Blazers scored nine straight points to make
it 81-68 on a bucket by Aldridge with 11:40 left.Notes: McMillan
said it's doubtful injured G Steve Blake will return from a shoulder
injury by Sunday, when the Trail Blazers host the New York Knicks, "and
we'll see after that.'' ... Thunder C Nenad Krstic didn't suit up for
the game because he has the flu ... Oklahoma City G Desmond Mason,
whose season ended after hyperextending his knee against Memphis on
Jan. 28, said he'll be on crutches for about six weeks as he recovers.
... For about 2 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, the Thunder had
three point guards in their lineup - Russell Westbrook, Watson and
Chucky Atkins - along with a fourth guard, Kyle Weaver, who has spent
time this season at the point. ... Portland's general manager, Kevin
Pritchard, is a former Oklahoma high school star from Tulsa.

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