Tahlequah Daily Press

Thunder/NBA

January 15, 2013

Thunder beats Phoenix for 30th win

PHOENIX — Kevin Durant scored 27 of his 41 points in the second half and the Oklahoma City Thunder became the NBA’s first 30-game winner of the season with a 102-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night.

Russell Westbrook added 36 for the Thunder, but it was Durant who took over in his fourth 40-point game of the season, scoring 19 in the fourth quarter and falling one shy of the season-high 42 he scored two games earlier against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Oklahoma City won its fourth straight, the last three on the road to improve their NBA-best record to 30-8. Durant scored 33 Sunday night in an 87-83 win at Portland.

Shannon Brown scored 21 for the Suns. Marcin Gortat had 19 points and 15 points, but was the unfortunate would-be defender on Durant’s spectacular dunk late in the game.

Kevin Martin was the only other Oklahoma City player in double figures with 12 points.

The Thunder were without Serge Ibaka for the second game in a row with a chest contusion. Phoenix didn’t have Jared Dudley (right wrist strain) or Jermaine O’Neal (back spasms).

Down 68-54 after Westbrook’s layup, the Suns finished the third quarter with a 14-4 run, cutting it to 72-68 on Michael Beasley’s 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left in the period. Oklahoma City didn’t get a field goal in the final 5:23 of the quarter, its only points coming on Durant’s four field goals.

But the Suns never got any closer.

Durant opened the fourth quarter with a fastbreak layup, sank a 19-footer, then followed with a 3-pointer and the Thunder led 79-72. Westbrook’s 3-pointer put Oklahoma City up 87-77 with 4:49 to play, then Durant put on a final show.

He sank a 3-pointer, followed with a 19-footer, then scored on a layup. The spectacular finish came on Oklahoma City’s next possession when he drove the lane and soared over Gortat for the dunk. Gortat fouled him on the play and Durant made the free throw to put the Thunder up 97-81 with 2:23 to play.

Oklahoma City used a 17-5 run to go up 45-35 on Martin’s 3-pointer with 3:09 left in the first half.

The Suns with 4 minutes, 15 seconds without a point in the early stages of the Thunder outburst.

Shannon Brown scored on a drive to the basket and was fouled for a 3-point play with 1.8 seconds left to cut Oklahoma City’s lead 51-45 at the break.

Westbrook scored 16 on 7 of 11 shooting to lead the Thunder in the first half, while Durant scored 14 and Kevin Martin 12.

Brown scored 12 in the first two quarters. Gortat had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.

Westbrook’s 15-footer capped a 6-0 spurt that put the Thunder ahead 66-52 with 6:24 to play in the third quarter.

Notes: Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. had a courtside seat. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in attendance with former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, now head of USA Basketball. ... Oklahoma City has won five straight in Phoenix, tied with Miami for longest active streak at US Airways Center. ... Dudley missed his second straight game. O’Neal was a game-time scratch.

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