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Thursday, March 29, 2012

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Mano a mano: Houston's Goran Dragic attacks the basket as Dallas' Rodrigue Beaubois defends on Tuesday. AP

Thunder roll past Blazers


PORTLAND, Oregon — When the Trail Blazers closed in on the Thunder, Russell Westbrook considered it his responsibility to set things right.

The Blazers, who trailed by as many as 21 points, closed within five in the third quarter, but Westbrook came back with consecutive jumpers and Oklahoma City went on to win 109-75 on Tuesday night.

"The home team will always make runs and my job as point guard is to take control of the game and not let things get out of whack," he said.

Westbrook finished with 32 points and eight assists to pace the Western Conference-leading Thunder to their fourth straight win. Kevin Durant scored 25 points and James Harden added 21 off the bench for the Thunder, who built a 65-47 lead by halftime.

"In the second (half) we were a little stagnant and we weren't getting any shots, so he just took it over," Kevin Durant said of Westbrook. "That's what great point guards do."

LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and eight rebounds as Portland fell to 3-4 under Kaleb Canales, who took over as interim coach when the Blazers fired Nate McMillan at the NBA trade deadline.

Portland was coming off a 90-87 victory over Golden State on Sunday. The Blazers had not had back-to-back wins since Jan. 23-24 against Sacramento and Memphis.

The Thunder (38-12) were coming off a 103-87 victory at home over the Miami Heat on Sunday. Oklahoma City heads to Staples Center to face the Lakers on Thursday before hosting the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

Rookie Nolan Smith got the start at point guard for the Blazers in place of Raymond Felton, who left the team to be with his mother while she undergoes a heart procedure.

Smith is the son of the late Derek Smith, who played nine seasons in the NBA and was a close friend with Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

Brooks said before the game that Nolan Smith was the ring bearer at his wedding.

"He was a feisty little guy," Brooks said of the younger Smith, who went on to play at Duke before he was selected by the Blazers with the 21st overall pick in last June's draft.

Lakers 104, Warriors 101

In Oakland, Kobe Bryant made a pair of jump shots in the final 64 seconds, finishing with 30 points to lead Los Angeles past Golden State.

Ex-Warriors forward Matt Barnes had 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added 19 points and 17 boards to give the Lakers their third win in four games.

Spurs 107, Suns 100

In Phoenix, Tony Parker scored eight points in a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter to help San Antonio win its fifth straight and eighth in nine games with a victory over the Suns.

Tim Duncan scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Spurs, winners of 12 of their last 14 road games.

Parker scored half of his 24 in the fourth quarter.

Mavericks 90, Rockets 81

In Dallas, Jason Terry scored seven consecutive points in a minute to start a game-turning run for the Mavericks, finishing with 12 points and four assists in a win over Houston.

Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points despite shooting 5 of 17.

76ers 103, Cavaliers 85

In Philadelphia, Jodie Meeks scored a career-high 31 points and Jrue Holiday had 19 to lead the hosts over Cleveland.

Bucks 108, Hawks 101

In Milwaukee, Monta Ellis scored 33 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, and had eight assists to lead the Bucks to a win over Atlanta.

Grizzlies 93, Timberwolves 86

In Memphis, Rudy Gay scored 21 points, and Dante Cunningham added season highs of 13 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies over Minnesota.

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