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Aldridge Too Good As Blazers Top Thunder

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With a combined record of 28-6, the Thunder and Trail Blazers entered Wednesday night's clash with two of the top four records in the NBA.  But someone had to lose, and thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland was not that team.    

Aldridge was spectacular, finishing with 38 points and 13 rebounds as the Trail Blazers edged the Thunder 111-104, ending Oklahoma City's eight-game winning streak. 

Portland needed every bit of Aldridge's season-high performance as Kevin Durant was equally unguardable.  Durant finished with 33 points and seven boards as this one came down to the final minute. 

OKC led 59-48 at halftime, but the Blazers dominated the third quarter. Portland outscored the Thunder 35-21 in the third to take a three-point lead into the game's final period. 

Portland held a 95-91 lead with 6:01 to play when Russell Westbrook buried a 3-pointer to pull OKC within one.  The two teams exchanged free throws for the next minute of game action and after Durant buried his pair, the Thunder claimed a 98-97 lead with 4:35 to go. 

Aldridge then decided to re-enter beast mode, scoring eight straight points by himself, interrupted only by a Westbrook layup and with 2:30 left, Portland found itself ahead 105-100. 

But OKC wasn't done yet.

Durant hit a short shot to bring the Thunder within three, and after Damian Lillard missed a 3-ball, Westbrook scored again to cut the deficit to one with 1:38 remaining.

With 29 seconds remaining, though, Nicolas Batum put the final nail in the Thunder's coffin.  Batum drained a wide-open 3-ball from the wing to put Portland up four and secure the Blazers' 16th win in 19 tries this season.

Westbrook added 21 points and five assits for the Thunder, while Serge Ibaka chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds.  Unfortunately, OKC's other two starters, Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins, combined for 37 minutes and just two points, six rebounds and no assists. 

OKC's young bench duo of Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson played well again on Wednesday, each reaching double-figure scoring on a combined 43 percent shooting.  Jackson scored 12 in 29 minutes while Lamb added 10 in 26 for the Thunder's second unit.    

The loss snaps the Thunder's (13-4) seven-game winning streak over the Blazers.  OKC had also won four straight in Portland.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks knows there's things to fix, but was confident that his team is still on the right track.   

"We had a nice run," Brooks said.  "We won eight in a row, we came and played one of the best teams in their building and played 'em down to the wire.  We gave ourselves a chance to win.  We had a bad third quarter on top of not stopping and having trouble scoring, but we're in a good place.  We gotta come back and regroup tomorrow for Friday's game in New Orleans."

Speaking of New Orleans, the Thunder is back at it Friday night in the Big Easy.  It will be Oklahoma City's first regular-season contest against the Pelicans. 

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