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Aldridge helps Portland edge Thunder

Apr 2, 2011 - 6:29 AM Portland, OR (Sports Network) - LaMarcus Aldridge scored 32 points to carry the Portland Trail Blazers to a 98-91 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in an intense battle at Rose Garden.

Nicolas Batum contributed 19 points while Andre Miller and Gerald Wallace added 13 apiece for the Blazers, who have won four of six and moved into sole possession of the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, one game ahead of New Orleans and Memphis.

Kevin Durant totaled 25 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which still sits comfortably in the No. 4 slot in the West standings.

The Thunder had won five in a row and were coming off a 14-2 stretch in March, but shot just 26 percent from the field in the second half on Friday.

"It felt like their defense flip-flopped in the second half," Durant said. "We couldn't hit a shot."

They made 13-of-19 in the first quarter en route to a 30-20 lead, though the Blazers cut the deficit to 59-53 by halftime and scored 15 straight points midway through the third to jump ahead.

Aldridge threw down an alley-oop dunk during the spurt and ended it with a jumper for a 72-65 lead with under four minutes left.

The hosts took a 78-70 edge into the fourth, and Wallace and Batum each hit from long range in the early stages to push the advantage to 84-72.

Portland shot just 2-for-14 from the field from that point, but made enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for the much-needed win.

"We did what we needed to go," Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan said. "We got to the free throw line and took care of the ball."

Game Notes

Portland has won seven straight at home...The Thunder were vying for their first season sweep of Portland since the 1997-98 campaign, when the franchise was located in Seattle...James Harden and Russell Westbrook tallied 21 and 16 points, respectively, for Oklahoma City. Westbrook also had nine rebounds and six assists...The Trail Blazers committed just five turnovers while forcing 17.