Durant destroys Hawks
ATLANTA- Oklahoma City’s biggest stars displayed a unique version of balanced scoring against Atlanta last night: Russell Westbrook led the Thunder in the first half and Kevin Durant dominated the Hawks over the final two quarters in Atlanta.
Durant set a season high with 41 points and Oklahoma City held off Atlanta 100-92 last night for their 12th straight win.
Westbrook had 27 points – 21 in the first half – and 11 assists. Durant scored 28 points in the second half, including 18 in the fourth, and also had 13 rebounds.
No other Oklahoma City player scored in double figures.
Both top scorers were hot against the Hawks. Durant made six of nine shots in the final period, including three 3-pointers, and the Hawks couldn’t find a way to slow the 6-foot-11 forward.
“We double-teamed him, we zoned him,” said Hawks coach Larry Drew. “He still made shots. You can’t stop him when he’s hot like that.”
Durant said Westbrook’s strong first half helped open more opportunities for him after the break.
“He was aggressive and they were giving him jump shots,” Durant said. “We just played off of that. He was very good and it opened up for me in the second half.”
Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 19 points, Josh Smith had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Al Horford and Lou Williams scored 13 apiece.
Durant was especially strong after Atlanta cut a 16-point deficit midway through the third quarter to 73-69.Durant slowed Atlanta’s comeback attempt when he dominated a sequence on both ends of the floor, blocking a shot by Smith before throwing down a jam. Smith drew a foul and Durant sank the free throw to push the lead to 85-75.
With about 3 minutes remaining, Durant hit a fall-away jumper. Less than a minute late, he made a spin move and then sank a 3-pointer over the 6-foot-7 Kyle Korver, who was left shaking his head.
“He’s just one of those players,” Korver said. “People don’t understand how tall he is and how long his arms are.”
Oklahoma City now have a NBA best 21-4 record for the season.
Other Wednesday night scores: Pistons 91, Raptors 97; Wizards 83, Magic 90; Nets 86, Knicks 100; Jazz 84, Pacers 104; Cavaliers 91, Celtics 103;† 76ers 103, Rockets 125; Bobcats 104, Suns 121; Bucks 80, Grizzlies 90, Warriors 127, Kings 131; Hornets 77, Clippers 93.