When the Trail Blazers hit Oklahoma City on Tuesday, they'll have a chance to steal Kevin Durant's thunder for a change.

Leave it to Durant to steal the Blazers' thunder on Friday. The Blazers won at San Antonio — but Durant got most of the headlines by scoring 54 points a little later that night, as the Thunder downed visiting Golden State 127-121.

Makes Tuesday's Portland-OKC game even more interesting.

That game will culminate Portland's five-day trip and perhaps rearrange the three-team race atop the NBA Western Conference.

The big question will be how much gas the Blazers have left in their tank after three other road games on this trip.

And can Portland's bench contribute enough to allow coach Terry Stotts the freedom to rest LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard on the bench enough to keep them fresh for the finish?

  • • One of things I like least about MLS and the NWSL is that the average fan has no idea what rules teams go by in making trades, building their rosters, dealing with salary caps and so forth.

    And the leagues operate in much secrecy, unable or unwilling to help their fans understand the guidelines.

  • • High school sports, playoff formats and state tournament sites — it's all about money.

  • • There are worse places to be than where various sports seasons begin in winter: Hawaii and the Palm Springs, Calif., area for PGA Tour pros … the Bahamas for the LPGA. … Arizona and Florida for baseball spring training … Daytona Beach, Fla., for NASCAR … Australia for Formula One and pro tennis.

  • Portland, the city, isn't really qualified to play host to an NBA All-Star Game. The city just doesn't have enough quality, convenient hotel space for that caliber of an event — it might take bringing in a couple of cruise ships, which might even make for interesting entertainment options.

    But Portland, the franchise, and especially Paul Allen, the owner, deserve to have the game in the next five years — and before it winds up in Europe.

    And while Allen, who has dutifully served for a quarter of a century, is still around and able to fully enjoy being the host.

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