A huge, huge, huge win for the Western-Conference-leading Portland Trail Blazers tonight, defeating Oklahoma City 103-93. If you missed this, it was a close game, with both sides giving playoff intensity.
Lamarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 30 points and 8 rebounds, Gerald Wallace added 13 points and 10 boards, while Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum contributed 16 and 12 points, respectively.
In the first quarter, OKC jumped to an early lead, thanks to some hard defense and good shooting. The Blazers just couldn't get started. OKC led 26-21.
The same story continued in the second quarter. OKC tried to build their lead, but the Blazers held in there, eventually outscoring them in the quarter. OK still held a small lead, 53-51. The lead felt very precarious.
The Blazers made halftime adjustments, and it paid dividends immediately. A ramped-up defense, combined with some uptempo offense, caught OKC off guard and pushed the Blazers into the lead. The rest of the third quarter was your classic back-and-forth, but the Blazers ended the quarter with a 4 point lead.
The Blazers picked up right where the left off in the fourth, more defense, and efficient offense. They quickly realized they could post up Kevin Durant, giving Wallace some nice easy shots. By the time Batum nailed a tough three-pointer against the clock, the Blazers had a 10 point lead with less than 6 minutes to play. Meanwhile, OKC's shooting was off. When Aldridge hits a jumper to extend the lead to 12 with 2:45 left, OKC needed a timeout. But OKC stayed within shouting distance, within 7 with 1 minute left. The Blazers missed a layup (again!) but Felton stole the ball on the rebound, sealing the game with 2 free throws.
The box score is here, and the next game is Thursday night for a TNT game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Enjoy a big win everyone! -- Tim