OKLAHOMA CITY For 3 1/2 quarters Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Trail Blazers were in position to seize an important victory over the team many expect to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
When LaMarcus Aldridge buried a jumper with six minutes remaining, Portland trailed Oklahoma City 88-83, and it seemed as if a battle to the finish was on.
Instead, the Blazers were finished. The Thunder closed the game on a 15-0 run to win going away 103-83.
It was a bitter blow for Portland (33-37), now three games behind the Los Angeles Laker (36-34), who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference race.
The Blazers missed their final eight shots and had four turnovers as they wilted down the stretch against the Thunder, who got 24 points and 10 rebounds from Kevin Durant and 21 points and nine assists from Russell Westbrook.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 19 points while Nicolas Batum contributed 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
NOTES Portland has eight home games among its 12 remaining regular-season contests beginning Wednesday night against Brooklyn. ... Utah and Dallas, both 34-36, are tied for ninth in the West, a game ahead of Portland. ... Oklahoma City has beaten the Blazers six straight times. ... Aldridge had his 35th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but made only 3 of 14 shots from the field. ... reserve point guard Eric Maynor finished with 10 points and four assists in 25 minutes against the team that traded him to Portland last month.