Starting 5: New Clutch City

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Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Rip roaring fun

SBNationBack in the mid-90s, Houston was known as Clutch City. It was as much for the way the Rockets won as it was for the fact that they were winning. There was just an excitment about every game.

Portland is not going to be winning any titles, but they are giving the Rose Garden plenty of reason to be excited. It seems every home game features some wild comeback and some exciting finish. For the second night, though, it was not a happy ending in Rip City.

The Trail Blazers rallied from a late 10-point deficit, finally persuading Kevin Durant to miss those contested jumpers he was making all game long. Damian Lillard hit a couple of those momentum-building 3-pointers that make it hard for any team to fight back. The Blazers even literally stole a chance to take the lead from Russell Westbrook at mid court.

Nicolas Batum, fresh from hitting a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game, missed his contested layup and Kendrick Perkins corralled the rebound. After splitting those free throws, LaMarcus Aldridge could not come up with the jumper to tie the game up and Oklahoma City held on for an 87-83 victory.

Kevin Durant scored 33 points on 12-for-21 shooting, looking unstoppable until those final hectic moments when Portland made a game of it.

2: Thin air

Chris Schneider/MySanAntonio.comIf there are more fourth quarters like the one that occurred Sunday night, Denver is going to really enjoy being home for the next few weeks.

The Nuggets outscored the Warriors 37-18 in the fourth quarter to win 116-105 at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

Denver is now 14-2 at home and has won five straight games. What the difference might have been was Denver's balance once again. Ty Lawson had 20 points and Danilo Gallinari had 21 points, leading a cadre of bench players to get into double figures. The Nuggets 48 points off the bench were the big difference against a hot-shooting Golden State team.

The Nuggets even got 14 points from Wilson Chandler, playing his first game of the season.

This was an offensive shootout and the Warriors just ran out of offense. Golden State shot 51.8 percent from the floor and Denver hit 47.8 percent of their shots, while getting to the line for 27 free throw attempts. Golden State's 18 turnovers did not help with so many points being scored.

Eventually the thin air gets you and the Warriors ran out of gas.

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Durant smash

Unstoppable Melo

Jennings dishes to Sanders

4: Line of the Night: Kevin Durant — 33 points, 12/21 FGs, 6 assists

Durant does amazing things. That is all. This was a super efficient game from Durant until the end when some of his jumpers stopped falling. Until that point, it seemed like he was toying with Portland and it just was not fair. It wasn't.

5:  You can quote me on that

Melo is Melo. I am not concerned about Melo and his offense. He will figure it out if he is struggling early. He is good enough to do that. I am concerned about how we are defending.

-Knicks coach Mike Woodson after Carmelo Anthony's 27-point performance

We're fortunate enough as a team to have a pretty good bench that when we do get down, has a chance to bring us back. It's not what we want to do.

-Bucks guard Mike Dunleavy on Milwaukee's comeback in a 107-96 win over Toronto

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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