Ruseel Westbrook 33 as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 106-90.
Going into tonight, the Thunder needed a win or a Nuggets loss to clinch the Northwest Division for the third straight year. They ended up getting both on their way to their third straight division title, and stay a halfgame ahead of the Spurs for the west.
The first half was closely contested, and for the second straight night Thabo Sefolosha hit a 3 to end the second half, this time to put the Thunder up by one, 55-54.
The Thunder then held the TrailBlazers to only 7 points in the third, setting a franchise record in the process and putting the Thunder up by 16 entering the final quarter. Brooks elected to pull the starters early in the fourth, the Blazers actually narrowed the to 13 with four minutes left, which forced Durant and Westbrook back in the game, but as soon as they entered Derek Fisher hit a 3 to seal the game for OKC.
Kevin Durant had 16, and Reggie Jackson added 17 for the Thunder. While the Blazers were led by Will Barton with 18, presumptive rookie of the year Damian Lillard had 10 and former Thunder Eric Maynor had 11.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Tonight was almost a mirror image of last night, minus the highlights. The Thunder played a close contested first half, only to blow out the other team in the second half. Portland has all but mailed it this year, losing their 10th straight in a row, and just giving their rookie playing time while getting in better position for the lottery.
Reggie Jackson is seeming to peak at the right time of the season and seriously becoming an offensive threat. Jackson went 7-12 tonight, for 17 points in 28 minutes of play.
What does this game tell us about the playoffs?
The Thunder have recently showed they have 5-6 options for offense on their squad. The emergence of Ibaka, Thabo, and Jackson as consistently double digit scorers its going to create nightmares for other teams in the playoffs.
The biggest impact on the playoffs came before the Thunder took the floor tonight. The Nuggets loss to the Mavs in overtime, which meant that the Thunder clinched the Northwest division for the third straight year. Both the Spurs and the Thunder won, meaning OKC stays 1/2 game up in the West with 2 games remaining.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder stay a half game ahead of the Spurs after both teams won tonight, but OKC still controls their own destiny. With Kevin Durant only scoring 16 points tonight, it all but assures that Carmelo Anthony will win this year's scoring title. The Thunder only have 2 games remaining and are likely to limit Durant's time significantly until the playoffs.
|Final - 4.12.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||30||25||26||25||106|
|Portland Trail Blazers||26||28||7||29||90|
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook, 33 points, 10-18 FG.
Thunder Down Under: Reggie Jackson, 17 points, 4 rebounds.
Thunder Blunder: none
Thunder Plunderer: Will Barton, 18 points, 7 Rebounds.
Next game: vs Sacramento Kings, on Monday, April 15th @ 7 pm CT
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