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Northwest powers collide when OKC visits Portland
(Sports Network) - The Northwest Division's two powerhouses - the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers - do battle Wednesday night at the Moda Center.
The Thunder are consistently one of the league's best and have won eight in a row since back-to-back road losses against the L.A. Clippers and Golden State Warriors in mid-November.
The Blazers have been the big surprise of the NBA this season. They lead the division and have won two in a row since their third loss of the season one week ago in Phoenix.
The Blazers' 15-3 mark is the best 18-game start for the franchise since the same record in the 1998-99 season.
Portland earned its biggest win of the season on Monday with a 106-102 home victory over the Indiana Pacers, the team with the best record in the league. The Blazers share the second-best record in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs and have now beaten both the Spurs and Pacers this season.
On Monday, the Blazers withstood a 43-point onslaught from Indiana's Paul George to gain their sixth consecutive home victory.
"That was a terrific basketball game. I thought both teams really played at a high level," said Portland coach Terry Stotts. "I was very proud of our team and very proud of everybody that played. They did a lot of good things and beat a quality team."
LaMarcus Aldridge was spectacular on Monday with 28 points and 10 rebounds. That was Aldridge's 14th 20-point game of the season and he trails only George in that category.
"LaMarcus was LaMarcus," said Stotts.
Damian Lillard scored 26 points thanks to 10-for-10 shooting from the foul line. Wesley Matthews added 15 points and Mo Williams chipped in 13 off the bench.
OKC had a tough time dealing with the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. Starting off a three-game trek, the Thunder watched an Isaiah Thomas jumper miss at the buzzer to hold on for a 97-95 victory.
Kevin Durant, the Western Conference Player of the Month, scored 27 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Russell Westbrook had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Serge Ibaka added 13 and nine boards.
The stars were aided on Tuesday by some great bench play. Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson combined for 27 points.
"We have big-game players and we know we have guys who can hit big shots," Durant said. "Jeremy hit some big ones and Reggie hit some big ones."
The Thunder, who committed 17 turnovers, have been doing it on defense during this stretch. Only three teams have scored 100 points along this winning streak and the Thunder held the Kings to 39.3 field-goal shooting on Tuesday.
The Thunder have dominated the Blazers in recent history with seven consecutive victories and wins in 10 of the last 12. OKC has won four straight in Rose City.
12/04 10:26:17 ET