This figured to be yet another titanic defensive struggle, and for the most part it was: neither the Thunder nor the Trail Blazers shot particularly well. But Kevin Durant had a really bad night, hitting only three of 21 from the floor, and the Blazers managed to put together enough offense in the fourth quarter to pull away, winning it on a flurry of free throws at the end, 83-74.
That lack of scoring shows you just how hard-nosed both defenses were, but the Blazers were just a little harder: the Thunder were held to a mere six assists, worst ever for the franchise and three away from the league record for futility. Then again, they blocked seven Portland shots. Russell Westbrook, who fouled out in the last minute, scored 23 points; KD, despite his shooting woes, still squeezed out 16; Jeff Green had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The bench contributed more defense than offense, with Etan Thomas pulling down nine boards; overall OKC shot a seriously-subpar 34.3 percent.
Portland didn’t hit much either, shooting 40.6 percent and managing only 16 assists. And LaMarcus Aldridge departed early with a bone contusion. Steve Blake led five Blazers in double figures, with 18 points. Greg Oden came up with a double-double, 12 points and 10 boards.
Attendance was reported at 16,920, about 93 percent of the new, shrunken Ford Center capacity. Everybody seems to be waiting for the Lakers, who are due in Tuesday night. By then, perhaps the shooters will have remembered how to shoot.