I really hated to do it last night, but sometimes you have to make sure you can get up for work in the morning, and if I'd stayed up to watch this one, that was going to be in jeopardy. The Thunder still have one game to go and I promise to get a real recap of that one up. Hey, its been a long season, and this is just the 2nd game I've had to throw up an AP recap. We're not missing much anyway, the Blazers trounced us again.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—The playoff possibilities had Brandon Roy’s head spinning.
“That’s why I don’t get into it,” he laughed when some of the scenarios were discussed in the Trail Blazers’ locker room after Portland’s 113-83 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.
Portland, Houston and San Antonio all have identical 53-28 records heading into the final game of the season for all three teams. The Rockets defeated New Orleans 86-66 and the Spurs beat Golden State 101-72 on Monday night.
The trio were tangled in third place behind the Lakers and the Nuggets in the unsettled Western Conference. The Blazers host Denver in their finale at the Rose Garden on Wednesday night, while Houston visits Dallas and San Antonio hosts the Hornets.
Rather than mess with the dizzying number of possible outcomes, Roy boiled the Blazers’ outlook down to three sentences.
“One game away. Lots of tiebreakers. We’ll see what happens,” he said.
The Blazers stayed on track by building a lead of as many as 35 points against the hapless Thunder for their fifth straight win.
Travis Outlaw led Portland with 21 points as a last-minute starter. Brandon Roy had 20 points and Greg Oden added 16 points and nine rebounds.
Kevin Durant, averaging 25.5 points, scored just 10 for the Thunder, who have lost six of their last seven games. Rookie Russell Westbrook had 15 points and seven assists.....continued inside
“It’s all about looking forward to the next game now,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “We’ll come to play and finish the season strong.”
Against the Thunder, Portland was without starting forward Nicolas Batum, who was scratched at gametime because of the flu. Outlaw started in the French rookie’s place.
The Blazers jumped to a 35-15 lead after Oden jammed Rudy Fernandez’s perfectly placed pass. Sergio Rodriguez, part of Portland’s so-called “Spanish Connection” with Fernandez, made a layup to make it 42-21.
Fernandez hit a 3-pointer late in the half that put Portland ahead 60-31. Steve Blake added a layup before the break for the Blazers’ biggest margin of the half, 62-31.
Durant did not score until a jumper with 3:48 left in the second quarter and had just four first-half points.
The Thunder shot 40.2 percent from the field for the game.
Oklahoma City’s Nick Collison was honest about how his team did against the Blazers: “They play like adults and we don’t play like that sometimes.”
Roy, the NBA’s Western Conference player of the week, played about 22 minutes before McMillan gave him the rest of the night off. The other starters soon followed.
Roy averaged 22.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists last week, when the Blazers went 4-0.
In the end, Roy said, it really didn’t matter where the Blazers end up, playoff-wise. Home-court advantage would be nice, but the opponent will be tough no matter who it is.
Portland has not been to the postseason since 2002-03.
“We’re just excited about going to the playoffs,” he said.
The Blazers were coming off an 87-72 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night. The night before, they beat the Lakers 106-98 in Portland.
The Thunder wrap up the season Wednesday at the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Trail Blazers will host a rally in downtown Portland on Thursday to celebrate the team’s return to the playoffs. … The Blazers’ 31-point halftime lead was the team’s biggest this season. … The Blazers went 3-1 against Oklahoma City this season. … The Thunder, who used to be Seattle’s team, were met at the Rose Garden by a handful of fans wearing Sonics’ jerseys. One young girl wore a T-shirt that said “Missing my Seattle SuperSonics.” … The quote of the night belonged to Blazers’ reserve forward Channing Frye: “We’ve got a lot of talent on this team so any time somebody goes down we’ve got some stuff in the fridge ready to put in the microwave and heat up really quick.”