I need hardly point out that the officiating tonight was somewhere between terrible and really terrible. (The reason I don’t have to mention it is that radio guy Matt Pinto mentioned it several times.) Still, questionable calls don’t explain why neither Serge Ibaka nor Reggie Jackson made a single shot in the first half. The Thunder were down ten at the half; they tied it up after three, and it was still tied with 2:38 left. Then an arguable foul on Ibaka, his fifth, persuaded Serge to argue, and he drew a tech, the third for OKC. (Scott Brooks and Kevin Durant each got one in the first quarter.) It came down to 0:13, with OKC 96, Portland 95. Out of bounds, and a very long inspection of the tape; the ball was awarded to the Thunder. Less than a second later, an almost identical situation; the Trail Blazers got this one, though, and when OKC got a stop and two free throws at 0:06 and a Blazer trey at the horn never met the rim, the Thunder wound up with a 98-95 win, evening the season series at 2-2, which may be an issue come seeding time.
All five Blazer starters made it to double figures; for a change, LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t the major thorn in the Thunder’s side, hitting 5-22 for 12 points, none of those field goals in the second half, and gathering 12 rebounds. Nicolas Batum had a team-high 18; Robin Lopez kicked in 17 points and pulled down 14 boards.
There was a time when Durant was the only OKC starter who’d made a shot, and that was halftime. Jackson took care of that, finishing with 17; Ibaka wound up with seven points and 11 rebounds; Jeremy Lamb, who deserves as much credit as anyone for pulling the team out of its first-quarter funk, shot 8-11 for 19 points. Nick Collison added nine. And oh, yes, there was that Durant guy, with 36 on a 15-28 night.
To L. A. to meet the Lakers, and then it’s All-Star Time.