Thunder win sixth straight
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PORTLAND, OreOklahoma City is in the midst of its longest winning streak in six seasons.
Kevin Durant had 33 points and 11 rebounds to help the Thunder beat the Blazers 89-77 on Tuesday night for a season-high sixth straight win.
The six-game winning streak is the Oklahoma City franchise's longest since the team was in Seattle and they won nine straight in 2004. It was the final game before the All-Star break for the Thunder.
"We're feeling good going into the break," Durant said. "The most important thing is that we come back ready to play after the All-Star break. We need to enjoy the break but come back with that mind set ready to fight through these last 30 games."
Tuesday's game was the first time these two former Northwest rivals have played in Portland (29-22) this season. The Thunder left Seattle two years ago. There was a smattering of fans around the Rose Garden wearing a Seattle Sonics t-shirt or holding signs saying "Save Our Sonics."
"This is a great environment, one of the best in basketball," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.
Durant, who hit 12 of 25 shots, continues to sizzle. It was the 25th straight game that Durant has scored 25 or more points the longest streak since Allen Iverson did it in 27 consecutive games during the 2000-01 season.
Durant, forward Jeff Green and reserve guard James Harden did the bulk of Oklahoma City's scoring, as the three combined for 63 points. Green had 17, while Harden scored 13, all during the fourth quarter.
Defense had a big role in Oklahoma City's win. The Thunder forced Portland into 24 turnovers, two short of the Blazers' season high. Portland shot just 40.3 percent from the field, hitting 31 of 77 shots.
Four Blazers who play shooting guard Martell Webster, Rudy Fernandez, Jerryd Bayless and Steve Blake combined to score eight points and shoot 3 of 22 from the floor.
"It was bad, a bad effort tonight," Portland coach Nate McMillan said.
Andre Miller scored 22 points to lead Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers.
Nicolas Batum, who scored 12 points, made his first start of the season for Portland. The 6-foot-8 Batum, who started 76 games last year as a rookie, missed this season's first 45 games recovering from shoulder surgery.
The starts to the first and fourth quarters were important in the Oklahoma City win.
Durant scored nine points as the Thunder streaked to a 15-2 lead midway through the first quarter. It took Portland the rest of the half to catch, which it did just before halftime on layup by Miller that tied the game at 41-41.
Portland took a 61-59 lead into the fourth quarter when Harden caught fire. After a dunk by Green tied the game at 61-61, Harden scored Oklahoma City's next 13 points that was part of a 15-2 Thunder run that broke the game open.
Oklahoma City outscored Portland 30-16 during the fourth quarter.
Notes: Blake left the game late in the first quarter with a chin laceration. He was given five stitches and returned to play during the second quarter. Portland's Greg Oden and Durant, the first two picks of the 2007 NBA draft, have faced each other only five times during their professional career, despite playing in the same conference. Oden missed all but two games of the 2007-08 season following knee surgery, and is out for the remainder of this season with a patella tendon injury. In the first game between these teams on Nov. 1, Durant hit just 3 of 20 shots against the Blazers. The game marked Portland's 100th consecutive sellout in the Rose Garden.