OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant scored 27 points, Kevin Martin added 24 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Indiana Pacers 104-93 on Sunday night for their eighth straight win.
A matchup of the NBA’s highest-scoring offense and the league’s stingiest defense went the Thunder’s way as they eclipsed 100 points for the 12th straight game.
Of course, Oklahoma City boasts the NBA’s second-best defense to go with all that offensive prowess.
Russell Westbrook added 21 points and came up with a big block against 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert – 11 inches taller – during a late 8-0 burst by the Thunder that put it away after the Pacers had pulled within three.
Plays like that can change the whole momentum of the game, Westbrook said. That was one of those plays.
David West led the way with 21 points for Indiana, which had all five starters score in double figures.
The Pacers trailed by 10 after three quarters but chipped away until pulling to 94-91 on Paul George’s three-pointer from the right wing with 5:26 to play. Durant found Serge Ibaka open underneath for a layup on the other end, and the Thunder scored eight straight points to regain control.
After his block against Hibbert under the basket, Westbrook hit a jumper from the right wing, came up with a steal and then nailed another jumper from the left side for a 102-91 advantage with 2:59 left.
The Thunder were just the fifth team to top 100 points this season against Indiana, which had been allowing just 91.2 points per game. The Pacers are 1-4 in those games.
We knew to beat this team, we had to put up points as well, said George Hill, who scored 15. Our defense can only hold up for so long.
BUCKS 97, NETS 88: In New York, Brandon Jennings scored 26 points, Monta Ellis had 24 points and Milwaukee withstood Brooklyn’s fourth-quarter rally.
The Bucks led by 29 points with 6:59 left in the third quarter, but Brooklyn got within six after Deron Williams found Kris Humphries open for an uncontested dunk.
Ellis’ layup then made it 87-79 before the Nets called a timeout with 2:24 left in regulation. On the ensuing play, Gerald Wallace lost his balance and the ball and Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders made a reverse layup to extend the Bucks’ lead to 10 points.
CLIPPERS 102, RAPTORS 83: In Los Angeles, Jamal Crawford led a fourth-quarter rally by the reserves with 16 points as Los Angeles won its sixth in a row, extending Toronto’s road losing streak to 10.
Eric Bledsoe added 14 points to help the Los Angeles reserves give the Clippers their first double-digit lead of the game after Toronto kept it close through the first three periods before dropping its fourth straight and 10th in its last 11. The Raptors have just four wins this season.
KNICKS 112, NUGGETS 106: In New York, Carmelo Anthony returned from a two-game absence with 34 points against his former team as New York remained the NBA’s lone unbeaten team at home.
Back in the starting lineup after missing two games with a cut on the middle finger of his left hand that required stitches, Anthony twice made baskets in the final 2:08 after Denver had pulled within four points.
MAGIC 98, SUNS 90: In Phoenix, rookie Andrew Nicholson scored nine of his career-high 19 points in the fourth quarter as Orlando handed Phoenix its seventh loss in a row.