for this game

Thunder light up Trail Blazers

Feb 7, 2009 - 5:27 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- In a meeting between the 1-2 picks in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder knocked out the Portland Trail Blazers with a 1-2 punch in the first half on Friday.

The Thunder rumbled to a wire-to-wire, 102-93 victory over the Trail Blazers that was punctuated by a dominant first 24 minutes, which saw Oklahoma City shoot nearly 60 percent from the field.

"It was a heck of a win. We played well, we played hard, we played together," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "I think Portland is one of the best teams in the league right now. We battled and that is what we need every game. Our guys stepped up and did a great job."

Kevin Durant led the way, scoring 22 of his game-high 31 points as the Thunder built a 60-40 lead at intermission. Durant, the No. 2 overall pick out of Texas two summers ago, ruled his first meeting with top overall selection Greg Oden of Portland.

The duo had not faced each other since the 2006 McDonald's All-American Game. Oden missed last season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee. The big man out of Ohio State had just four points in 16 minutes.

Oklahoma City blasted out of the gate, surging to a 37-25 advantage. The Thunder kept it rolling in the second quarter, enjoying a 23-15 edge. Nick Collison had 13 points before intermission on 6-of-7 shooting.

"This should be a wake-up call for us," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "If we don't get effort from the start and we think that we can outscore teams, we've got a long season ahead of us. We need more effort and better effort.

"We can't wait until we're down to start playing well. This entire road trip we've gotten off to terrible starts and we've had to climb our way out of a hole. You cannot do that in this league."

Oden didn't score his first basket until 8:31 remained in the third quarter when he threw down a dunk.

"It was a regular game for me," Durant said, downplaying the meeting with Oden. "I just wanted to come out and play with fire and enthusiasm like I always do and try to win. I talked to Greg a little bit (before the game).

"He's doing well, he's healthy and playing well, so I am happy for him, but I know we are always going to be mentioned together."

Oden wasn't big on blowing up the meeting, either.

"That's all stuff the media is hung up on, we never guard each other, it's not like we are huge rivals," he said. "We just play basketball. I know Kevin well, but it was just another game for me."

The Thunder were so hot that they tore the net down when Jeff Green dunked with 2:50 left in the third quarter for an 81-59 lead. The game was delayed as the net was replaced.

The delay seemed to cool the Thunder as Portland finished the quarter on a 7-0 run to close the gap to 15 entering the final 12 minutes.

The run swelled to 9-0 when LaMarcus Aldridge hit a layup to open the fourth. Earl Watson finally stopped it with a pair of foul shots after getting hit on a drive.

The Blazers cut the deficit below double digits at 92-83 when Travis Outlaw split a pair of free throws with 4:37 left.

After another free throw by Outlaw, Durant built the advantage back to double digits with an authoritative jam.

Collison added a pair of free throws with 1:29 left to boost the advantage to 96-85.

Brandon Roy, who had 32 points, hit from beyond the arc with 1:19 left but Russell Westbrook had the dagger with three straight baskets in the final minute.

"They were a better team tonight," Roy said. "They weren't scared of us at all. Tonight was different than any other night.

"They were out there and I think every guy on the floor felt like they could beat our guy, and I've never felt like that before. It is embarrassing. Our problem isn't defensively, it's attitude, especially early in games. I don't know how to fix that."

Collison finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds while Green added 20 points. Watson had a double-double with 14 points and 11 assists off the bench.

"I got an opportunity to get a lot more minutes tonight and I was in the right place in the right time a lot tonight," Collison said. "I got a lot of rebounds right at the rim for some easy baskets.

"When Oden got in foul trouble and Aldridge was on the bench I knew that every ball that came off the rim I had to go for."