- The Washington Times - Friday, April 3, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - LaMarcus Aldridge scored 35 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers added to their string of blowouts, routing the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-72 Friday night.

Playing in front of his college coach, Aldridge missed matching the highest scoring total of his career by one point and had a key role in three scoring runs that helped the Blazers pull away.

Aldridge finished a 16-1 Portland run with a turnaround jumper in the lane and a tip-in of Steve Blake’s miss to put the Blazers up 69-41 late in the third quarter. Oklahoma City never got within 20 after that.

Portland was in position to clinch a playoff spot if Phoenix lost at home to Sacramento later Friday night.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 13 points and Jeff Green scored 12. Shaun Livingston made his Oklahoma City debut with 10 points off the bench.

Brandon Roy added 15 points and Blake had 14 points and 10 assists for Portland. Both teams played reserves for much of the fourth quarter as the Blazers’ lead continued to swell.

Portland has won its last four games by at least 20 points.

With Texas’ Rick Barnes looking on, Aldridge was all but unstoppable from the very beginning.

He had two dunks and two layups during an early 13-2 run as the Trail Blazers opened a nine-point advantage, and Blake hit a 3-pointer a few minutes later to push the lead to 20-10.

Portland led by as many as 11 before the Thunder started chipping away. But as soon as Green banked in a 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer to get Oklahoma City within 34-33, the Blazers broke off another 13-2 spurt _ again featuring eight points from Aldridge _ to go up 47-35 at halftime.

The Blazers then scored the first six points of the second half and were in control the rest of the way.

Notes:@ The game snapped a span of seven straight wins by the home team in the series. … In the third meeting between the top two picks in the 2007 draft, Oden had a slow start with three fouls in 3 minutes and 17 seconds in the first half. He scored all of his eight points in the second half and also had eight rebounds. … Russell Westbrook went to the locker room briefly after Oden caught him with a forearm to the face on a reverse layup attempt by Westbrook in the first quarter.


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