With Oklahoma City trailing by two in the waning moments of the opening half, Thabo Sefolosha fired a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer that could give the Thunder a one-point lead at the break – he buried it.
Then in the third quarter, Oklahoma City buried the Blazers.
A standout defensive effort and a one-man offensive onslaught by Russell Westbrook led to a 26-7 third-quarter demolition of Portland that sucked the life right out of the Rose Garden en route to an easy 106-90 victory.
Starting with Sefolosha's buzzer beater, OKC went on a 12-0 run to take command of the game and held Portland scoreless for the first four minutes of the third. That would not be the Blazers' last drought of the quarter.
After an 18-foot jumper by LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland went another 1:30 without a point before a Sasha Pavlovic 3 at the 6:30 mark. That would be the last Blazer basket until Pavlovic connected on another 3-pointer 3 minutes and 43 seconds later before going scoreless the final 2:27 of the period.
Portland shot just 14 percent as a team in the third.
And while Portland was busy not making shots, Westbrook was going past, over and through the Blazers' defense to the tune of 17 third-quarter points; he scored 17 of the team's final 20 points of the period.
Westbrook finished with a game-high 33 on 10-of-18 shooting and connected on 11-of-12 free throws. Kevin Durant added 16 points on an efficient 7-of-11 from the floor.
Reggie Jackson provided a huge spark off the bench for a Thunder team that sat Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Martin with minor injuries. Jackson picked up the slack with a career-high 17 points. Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka chipped in 11 points each.
Hasheem Thabeet started in place of the injured Perkins and had six rebounds and four blocks in just 18 minutes before leaving with an injury of his own.
Will Barton led Portland with 18 points, while Aldridge chipped in 12 as the Blazers fell to 33-46 on the season and 22-18 at home.
With the victory, Oklahoma City improved to 59-21 and 26-15 on the road. The Thunder maintained its ½ game lead on the Spurs for first place in the Western Conference standings.
OKC will be back in action on Monday at 7 p.m. when it faces the Sacramento Kings in Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder will be aiming for its first 60-win season since coming to Oklahoma City.