NBA-best Thunder beat Blazers in overtime

BY foxsports • February 6, 2012

-- A satisfying victory for Oklahoma City was a head-scratcher for Portland.

Kevin Durant had 33 points, including a dunk with 2.9 seconds left in overtime, and the Thunder defeated the Trail Blazers 111-107 on Monday night.

But the focus of the game fell on a goaltending call on Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge with 6 seconds left in regulation that tied the game at 103 and would send it into overtime.

The Rose Garden Crowd wailed when the replay was shown on the video scoreboard. Coach Nate McMillan rushed to the nearest official to complain. Aldridge, who finished with a season-high 39 points, just looked stunned.

"I said, `Y'all should go look at it,'" Aldridge said. "And the ref said, `Nope.'"

And that was that.

Russell Westbrook added 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, who upped their NBA-best record to 19-5 (.792). Oklahoma City outscored the deflated Blazers 8-4 in overtime to clinch it.

Westbrook hit a jumper and James Harden added a fast-break dunk to give the Thunder a 107-103 lead. Jamal Crawford's pull-up jumper narrowed it to 109-107 for the Blazers, but Durant dunked with 2.9 seconds left to put it away.

"It was a tough game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "It could have gone either way. I don't think one call is a difference-maker."

It was just the second loss for the Blazers (13-11) at the Rose Garden.

"It's tough. We definitely played well enough to win this game," Aldridge said. "We had some tough calls and then we had some bad bounces late in the game. We have to learn from it."

The Blazers trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, but Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer that tied it at 63 with 6:52 left. Aldridge added a jumper to put Portland ahead.

Aldridge hit a turnaround jumper with 3:37 to go to make it 99-95 for the Blazers. After a pair of free throws, Durant made a 3-pointer to close to 101-98. Westbrook made free throws to tie it for Oklahoma City, and then Crawford's jumper with 55.9 seconds left pulled the Blazers back ahead.

Portland clung to the narrow lead when, with 6 seconds left, Aldridge was called for goaltending on Durant's layup.

"It didn't hit the glass. I put it on the glass, so I figured it was a clean block," Aldridge said. "The ref who called it was the furthest one from the basket, so that's pretty interesting."

Coach Nate McMillan was much more direct: "I thought it was a good block. That game should have been over."

Durant felt otherwise.

"I saw the lane to the rim and I tried to get it up there quick because LaMarcus Aldridge is a long, athletic defender," he said. "So I got it up there quick enough that it hit the glass first. It was a goaltend, so it was a good play for us."

Batum missed a layup for Portland's final possession and the game went to overtime and the Rose Garden crowd jeered the officials. The boos came again after the game when the refs quickly exited the floor.

The Thunder were coming off a 107-96 loss at San Antonio on Saturday, which kicked off a five-game road trip. Durant had 22 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double.

Portland was without starting guard Raymond Felton, who strained his left foot in the Blazers' 117-97 victory over Denver on Saturday night. An MRI was negative, but Felton is day-to-day with the injury.

Crawford, a former NBA Sixth Man award winner with Atlanta who was acquired by the Blazers as a free agent before the season opened, started for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Crawford, who finished with 17 points, hit a 3-pointer that put Portland ahead 26-21 in the first quarter.

The Blazers led by as many as eight, but Oklahoma City pulled in front 46-41 in the second quarter on Serge Ibaka's dunk. Durant and Ibaka had back-to-back dunks and the Thunder went on to lead 60-52 at the half.

Ibaka made a 15-foot jumper to extended Oklahoma City's lead to 64-52, but Portland took off on a 13-0 run to take a 65-64 lead capped by Gerald Wallace's layup.

It didn't last long, however, and the Thunder responded with a run of their own to go up 80-69 after Westbrook's dunk. Portland narrowed it to 87-83 to start the fourth quarter, and Batum hit a layup and a free throw to narrow it to 89-88, but Durant again answered with a dunk to stop the Blazers' momentum.

NOTES: There was a cluster of fans behind the Thunder bench that wore SuperSonics gear and held banners in memory of the team that left Seattle in 2008. ... Batum had a career-high 33 points and a franchise-record nine 3-pointers in the victory over Denver. He finished with 13 against the Thunder. ... It was Aldridge's 19th game with at least 20 points this season. He's surpassed 28 points for three consecutive games.