Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
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The Trail Blazers never die

In the last week, the Portland Trail Blazers have erased big deficits against two quality Western Conference opponents, coming back to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday and then doing it again against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Against the Thunder, the Blazers trailed by 13 points early in the fourth quarter, only to roar back on the strength of a prolific offensive effort. Portland put up 37 points in the fourth quarter, scoring on 10 consecutive possessions at one point. Both Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge came up big, as did newcomer Arron Afflalo.

The victory spoiled Russell Westbrook’s third-straight triple-double, and Westbrook got hurt at the end of the game while diving for a loose ball in the final seconds. Westbrook took a knee to the face from teammate Andre Roberson, leaving a visible dent in his cheek that ultimately required surgery. Of course, the point guard has already came back and put up another triple-double.

But back to Portland. On Wednesday night in Los Angeles, the Blazers looked dead in the water again, trailing by 10 points with just under three minutes to go. Once again, Portland roared back, with both Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum hitting big threes down the stretch. The Clippers stopped scoring, and Chris Paul missed a chance to win the game in the final seconds. DeAndre Jordan helped the Blazers’ cause by stopping after Paul’s miss instead of trying to get a game-winning put-back, and the game went to overtime.

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The overtime period belonged to Batum, who scored or assisted on every single point in the frame, and it was the Frenchman who buried the dagger three to seal the victory. Batum has had his fair of struggles this season due to injuries, but he looked more like his usual self in that overtime period and for much of the game, nearly notching a triple-double.

With the two big comebacks, the Blazers have now won 15 games in which they’ve trailed by double-digits. That’s a crazy stat, and it’s a testament to Portland’s character for never quitting in these games. It certainly helps to have a guy like Lillard around to go crazy in fourth quarters, in addition to all the other talented players on the roster.

The Blazers are now 40-19, which is good for third in the Western Conference. Both Portland and the Houston Rockets are seven games behind the top-seeded Golden State Warriors, but the Blazers are percentage points ahead of Houston.

In terms of championship odds, Portland shares the same odds as two other West powerhouses, including Houston. The Blazers, Rockets and Dallas Mavericks all have 25/1 odds to win the 2015 title, according to Bovada. I don’t know how many people actually expect any of these teams to win it all, but if things break right, don’t count them out.

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