Wallace scores 40, but Portland falls at OKC
OKLAHOMA CITY - Portland's Gerald Wallace had a near-career night, but it was Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook stealing the spotlight in the clutch as the Thunder pulled out a 99-90 victory Sunday at U.S. Airways Center.
Wallace scored 40 points, but Westbrook tallied 14 of his 28 points in the final seven minutes to lift Oklahoma City (48-24).
With the Thunder leading 84-82, Westbrook knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to push the margin to 90-82. Then, with the Thunder ahead 94-90, the All-Star guard buried another trey to make it 97-90 with 21.9 seconds left.
Wallace was unstoppable for the Blazers (42-31), making 16 of 28 shots from the field and 7 of 9 from the foul line while falling two points short of his career high while with Charlotte. He had seven rebounds and took three charges in his 45-minute stint.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and seven boards for Portland, which never led after the early second quarter.
Oklahoma City jumped out to a 55-40 advantage late in the second quarter and went into intermission ahead 55-41. The Blazers came out of the gates with a 13-2 run to get to within 57-54 and tied the count several times, the last at 82-82 with 6:18 remaining. The Thunder outscored the visitors 17-8 the rest of the way.
Portland shot .432 from the field and was only 2 for 12 from 3-point range. The Blazers were outrebounded 42-38.
'We didn't make shots, and we didn't rebound,' Portland coach Nate McMillan said. The Thunder 'pounded us on the boards. Two keys for us were taking care of the ball and rebounding. They got 14 points off our turnovers and scored 20 points off second-shots. You're spotting that team 34 points right there.'
NOTES: Portland's second stop in its three-game road trip is Monday at San Antonio. ... the Blazers fell into a tie with New Orleans for sixth place in the Western Conference. ... the Thunder are 12-2 since the trade deadline and 6-1 since center Kendrick Perkins, acquired from Boston, was activated. ... the Blazers had won five of their previous six games. ... Portland's Nicolas Batum strained a quad muscle and did not play in the second half. Brandon Roy played only 13 minutes and suffered from back cramps in the second half. ... Marcus Camby wound up starting the second half and playing 31 minutes, most since he returned to duty from knee surgery on Feb. 27. The veteran center had four points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. ... Aldridge donated $20,000 to the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund - $1,000 for each of the 20 points he scored. ... OKC's Kevin Durant made only 5 of 18 shots from the field, but was 8 for 8 from the line, scored 21 points, had five blocked shots, three rebounds and three steals. ... Serge Ibaka collected 18 points and eight boards for the winners. ... The Thunder blocked 11 shots.