Thunder beat Blazers 106-92 in home opener
- Article by: JEFF LATZKE
- Associated Press
- November 2, 2012 - 9:51 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Russell Westbrook scored 32 points, Kevin Durant had 23 points and 17 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Portland Trail Blazers 106-92 on Friday night to win their fourth straight home opener.
Kevin Martin, taking over James Harden's role as the top-scoring bench player, added 19 points as Oklahoma City pulled away in the fourth quarter. Martin hit a 3-pointer and a runner during an 11-2 spurt that extended the Thunder's lead to 95-81 with 4:05 remaining.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 22 points and 15 rebounds and first-round pick Damian Lillard followed a sizzling debut with 21 points and seven assists.
The Trail Blazers were unable to follow up their surprising opening win against the Los Angeles Lakers, while Oklahoma City bounced back from a loss to San Antonio that at least temporarily shifted the focus off Harden's departure.
The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year was traded on Saturday night, shaking up the Thunder's second line before they could even play a game after making it to the NBA Finals.
He wasn't missed as much in this one.
Oklahoma City led throughout the second half, but twice allowed Portland to get within one point late in the third quarter. Lillard's right-handed floater got the Trail Blazers within 64-63 with 3:04 left in the period, before Durant hit a free throw and Nick Collison got free for a two-handed dunk.
The Thunder never looked back, finishing with a 44-24 scoring advantage in the paint and a 23-6 edge on the fast break.
Durant ended up with a full stat line, finishing one shy of his career-best in rebounds to go with seven assists and six turnovers. Collison was Oklahoma City's only other player in double figures, with 12 points. He dived to save a ball from going out of bounds to set up two free throws by Durant to finish off the Thunder's big fourth-quarter run.
Lillard, who joined Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas as the only players with at least 20 points and 10 assists in an NBA debut, had seven assists and two turnovers. Wesley Matthews chipped in 17 points and J.J. Hickson contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
Durant scored seven points in the middle of an 11-0 run as the Thunder recovered from an early deficit to take a 24-18 lead after Martin's jumper from the left wing, his first basket at home with his new team. Portland rallied to go ahead briefly with the first eight points of the second quarter, only to have Oklahoma City answer right back with seven straight points to reclaim the lead for good.
NOTES: Durant had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. It was only the second time in his career that he had a double-double by halftime. The other time came March 9, 2011, against Philadelphia. ... The Houston at Oklahoma City game on Nov. 28, marking Harden's only return to Chesapeake Energy Arena of the season, was picked up by NBA TV on Friday. The network also dropped its coverage of a Portland-Oklahoma City rematch on Jan. 13 and added Tuesday's Thunder-Raptors game. ... Rookie Jeremy Lamb, one of Oklahoma City's acquisitions in the trade for Harden, entered late and hit a 3-pointer for his first NBA points.
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