Thunder beat Blazers for 6th straight win
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Thunder have added dominant defense to their strong offense, and the result is the league’s longest current win streak.
Kevin Durant scored 24 points, leading Oklahoma City to a 106-90 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night and extending their win streak to six games.
Dion Waiters scored 18 points, Enes Kanter had 12 points and 13 rebounds and Steven Adams added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, who have held seven consecutive opponents under 100 points.
C.J. McCollum scored 24 points and Damian Lillard added 20 for Portland, but the Trail Blazers shot just 35 percent overall.
"We know they’re a jump-shooting team," Durant said. "McCollum hit a few tough shots on us early, but we didn’t get discouraged. We knew they were going to stay out on the perimeter, and we just want to contest shots, and I think we did a good job of that."
During the past seven games, Oklahoma City is allowing 93.1 points per game and 42 percent shooting. The Thunder, who play at Cleveland on Thursday, rested four of their starters for the entire fourth quarter. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said that’s what happens when the scoring is balanced and the defense is consistent.
"Definitely easy," he said. "Don’t got to do much. Don’t got to play the fourth quarter. Get a chance to rest."
Lillard was held scoreless on 0-for-9 shooting in the second half.
"He missed shots," Durant said. "I think we did a good job early on of contesting his shots. He made some tough ones early on. He didn’t get any layups and he didn’t get going off easy shots, so credit our guards."
Lillard said he tweaked his left ankle in the second quarter while trying to avoid Serge Ibaka, but said it shouldn’t cost him any games.
Mason Plumlee added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.
The Thunder controlled most of the first half, but Portland made three 3-pointers in the final 1:02 of the second quarter to cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 52-45 at the break. Portland’s three baskets in the final 62 seconds of the half matched their total from the rest of the second quarter. Lillard had 20 points in the first half to keep the Trail Blazers in it.
The Thunder opened the second half on a 10-2 run to push their lead out to 62-47 and force Portland to call a timeout. Waiters was fouled on a nifty reverse layup late in the third quarter, and he made the free throw to put the Thunder up 86-67. Durant scored 15 points in the third quarter after scoring just nine in the first half.
Trail Blazers: Coach Terry Stotts, a former University of Oklahoma player, mentioned during the pregame how much he respects current Sooners coach Lon Kruger. Oklahoma is unbeaten and ranked No. 3 in the AP Top 25. He was happy the Sooners are in the Top 5 in both football (No. 4) and basketball.
Thunder: Durant was called for a technical with 5:42 left in the first quarter. He felt he was pushed in the back on a shot, didn’t get the call and told the official how he felt about it. … Adams’ 9 points in the first quarter were the most he’s scored in a first quarter in his career. … No Thunder player reached double figures in the first half. … Adams posted the 12th double-double of his career and his first of the season.
ON THE RISE
McCollum has scored 20 or more points in four of his past five games after reaching that total just seven times in his first 22 contests.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who entered the game sixth in the league in scoring, was held to 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting.
Stotts, on Oklahoma City’s balance: "On a night where Durant has 24 and Westbrook 13, you think that you have a chance, but Waiters was good. Their bigs were very good in the paint. Durant got it going in the second half. They’re very versatile and can score in a lot of different ways."
Durant on the Thunder drawing 28 fouls from Portland and shooting 37 free throws: "It’s really good that we were attacking. They’ve got young players, and we knew that they were going to be a little touchy-feely, and we just tried to get to their bodies and be physical going to the rim."
Portland: At Orlando on Friday.
Oklahoma City: At Cleveland on Thursday.
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