We’ve seen it before: Oklahoma City jumps out to a huge lead — in this case, 60-40 at the half — and then the opponents whittle away at it. And the Trail Blazers have some serious whittlers: Brandon Roy got hot in the third quarter, Travis Outlaw in the fourth, and Portland managed to pull within eight. But that was as close as they’d get: the Thunder, for the first time in recorded history never trailing in a game, won it by nine, 102-93.
Two factors helped sink the Blazers: Greg Oden got into foul trouble early and only played sixteen minutes, and they missed rather a lot of free throws in the fourth quarter. Still, they made big shots, Roy finishing with 30 points, Outlaw with 20 off the bench, and LaMarcus Aldridge with 18.
But OKC had big numbers, even outrebounding the Blazers 43-37. Nick Collison got 13 of those boards and 21 points, one of two double-doubles for the Thunder. (The other: Earl Watson, with 12 points and 11 assists.) Kevin Durant knocked down 31 and Jeff Green 20. And OKC kept the turnovers down to twelve, six of which came from Russell Westbrook, who finished with 10 points.
If there was a signature moment, though, it was late in the third quarter, when Earl Watson did a no-look pass to Jeff Green, whose subsequent slam actually ripped the net away from the iron, delaying the game about ten minutes while the basket was repaired.
The homestand is now even at 1-1, with the Kings coming in Sunday.