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Thunder slip by Blazers, 'under' connects

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Kevin Durant had 33 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped Portland's nine-game winning streak at the Rose Garden with an 87-83 victory over the Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

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Russell Westbrook added 18 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who played without starters Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha because of injuries.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 33 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who trailed by 11 points but pulled within one point with less than a minute left.

Westbrook's 3-pointer made it 84-74 with 3:35 left but the Blazers closed to 84-80 after Nicolas Batum's putback with 1:57 to go. Batum added a 3-pointer with 21.9 seconds left to make it 84-83.

Kendrick Perkins missed the first of two free throws and after a timeout Aldridge missed a tough fade-away jumper from about 20 feet out with 1.7 seconds left. Westbrook made a pair of foul shots for the final margin.

The Blazers extended their Rose Garden winning streak to nine after rallying for a 92-90 win over Miami on Thursday night. But Portland fell 103-97 at Golden State on Friday to stop a four-game overall winning streak.

Ibaka missed the game because of chest contusion he sustained in the third quarter of the Thunders' 116-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. It was the first time Ibaka missed a game this season. The 6-foot-10 forward is averaging 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Ibaka was replaced by Nick Collison in Oklahoma City's starting lineup.

Sefolosha, who was held back with a sore neck, has also started in all of the Thunder's games this season, averaging 7.5 points and four rebounds. He was replaced by DeAndre Liggins, who made his first career start.

The Blazers trailed by eight points early, but pulled to 18-17 on Aldridge's layup and free throw late in the first quarter. Portland couldn't get any closer and Collison's reverse layup midway through the second quarter gave the Thunder a 33-27 lead.

The Blazers responded with a 12-2 run, pulling ahead on a trio of free throws and a 3-pointer from Batum that put Portland ahead 39-25.

Durant was whistled for three fouls and went to the bench but the Thunder kept up the pressure and the Blazers hung onto only a 43-42 lead at the break.

The Thunder pulled back in front, 52-48, after Westbrook's finger-roll layup and Collison's hook shot. Durant made a 3-pointer over Batum to make it 57-50.

Liggins hit a 3 that stretched Oklahoma City's lead to 63-52.

Aldridge and Batum had back-to-back dunks to pull Portland to 72-67 with 8:04 left.

NOTES: There were lots of fans wearing Seattle SuperSonics gear at the Rose Garden, as there always are when Oklahoma City comes to town. But NBA fans from Seattle may not be lamenting the loss of a hometown team much longer. Reports emerged last week that the owners of the Sacramento Kings may be in talks with a group in Seattle that would relocate the team. The Sonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008. A fan in the stands at the Rose Garden held a sign that read ``Bring Back the Rivalry!''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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