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Blazers rally for big win over Thunder

Oklahoma City has eight game win streak snapped

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: December 4, 2013, 4:00pm

PORTLAND — Tuesday night, 12 of the 15 players on the Trail Blazers roster took in the Drake concert together in suites at the Moda Center.

The Blazers continue to be fueled 24 hours later by the chorus of the Drake song “Worst Behaviour,” a song with a chorus about being overlooked and under appreciated.

One game after beating the team with the NBA’s best record, LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 38 points to go along with 13 rebounds and five assists to beat Oklahoma City 111-104.

Throughout the Blazers’ winning streak and their now 16-3 start, fans, pundits and analysts haven’t hesitated to ask the question that continues to hang over this team: Are they for real?

Damian Lillard has been overlooked his whole life as his underdog story has been well documented and with the Blazers winning in spite of the doubts. He sees that they feel those bars from Drake.

“This whole season after we had a good start it was like, ‘Oh they haven’t played anybody. Can they do it against this team?’ ” Lillard said. “This and that and everything we were doing was being discredited. Because of that, that’s how we started to speak on that.”

Dorell Wright sees a whole group of underdogs that make things go.

“We got a lot of guys that have been overlooked in here,” he said. “(Wesley Matthews), his route here and things like that and he is getting the recognition that he deserves. LA, it’s not going to be a question when it’s the All-Star break that he is going to be an All-Star. Dame, the same way, we know he is going to be an All-Star, he’s been playing at that level.”

While the Blazers continue to be on their worst behavior, it’s Aldridge who is the baddest man of all.

Portland’s All-Star continues playing the the best basketball of his career as he carried the Trail Blazers all night long.

Aldridge was the was the main piece that helped break Oklahoma City’s eight-game winning streak.

It wasn’t easy as the Blazers were down by 11 points at halftime. But they went on a quick run to get back in the game. It was Aldridge leading the way for the Blazers in the third quarter as he scored 16 of the Blazers 35 points in the quarter.

Kevin Durant scored 33 points and grabbed seven rebounds, but it didn’t help Oklahoma City that his partner Russell Westbrook went 7-of-17 from the field as Wesley Matthews guarded him most of the night.

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While Aldridge had a big night, it was Nicolas Batum who hit the biggest shot of the game with a 3-pointer to put the Blazers up by four with 29 seconds left. Blazers coach Terry Stotts said that the final play was actually drawn up for Batum to throw the ball down in the post to Aldridge, but Batum found himself too wide open to pass up the eventual dagger.

“The play was for LaMarcus,” Batum said. “I was supposed to come off the pin down and give the ball inside. I ran baseline and received the ball, and I was surprised at first to be that wide open. So, shoot it.”

Aldridge had the whole repertoire on display: shooting jumpers off pick and rolls, posting up, fadeaways, up-and-unders. He put in two free-throws to put the game out of reach as the roars of “M-V-P” came from the Moda Center.

“Just surreal,” Aldridge said. “It was humbling to have that moment here and I’ve had very few of those moments of those types of chants here. That was fun, it made the night complete for me.”

Columbian Trail Blazers Writer