Du­rant’s 41 lift Thun­der to 12th straight vic­tory

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS BRIEFING - CUR­TIS COMP­TON / AT­LANTA JOUR­NAL-CON­STI­TU­TION

Kevin Du­rant set a sea­son high with 41 points, and the vis­it­ing Ok­la­homa City Thun­der held off the At­lanta Hawks 100-92 on Wed­nes­day night for their 12th straight win.

Rus­sell West­brook had 27 points — 21 in the first half — and 11 as­sists. Du­rant, who had 18 points in the fourth pe­riod, had 13 re­bounds.

No other Ok­la­homa City player scored in dou­ble fig­ures.

Ok­la­homa City (21-4) im­proved the NBA’s best record and atoned for a 104-95 home loss to the Hawks on Nov. 4. That loss left Ok­la­homa City 12; it is 20-2 since then and hasn’t lost since Nov. 23 at Bos­ton.

The 12 straight wins matches the long­est streak for the fran­chise since 1996, when it had a 14-game win­ning streak as the Seat­tle Su­perSon­ics.

Jeff Teague led At­lanta with 19 points. Josh Smith had 17 points and 12 re­bounds. Al Hor­ford and Lou Wil­liams each had 13 points.

The Hawks took their last lead at 19-17 on a fol­low shot by An­thony Mor­row. The Thun­der then went ahead with a 10-1 run that over­lapped the end of the first pe­riod and the start of the sec­ond. Martin opened and closed the run with jumpers.

Ok­la­homa City stretched the lead to 17 on four straight free throws by Du­rant fol­low­ing fouls by Mor­row late in the half.

The Thun­der led 6852 mid­way through the third quar­ter, but a tech­ni­cal foul against Smith with 3:12 re­main­ing in the pe­riod seemed to spark the Hawks.

Smith sank a 3-pointer as part of At­lanta’s 8-0 run to close the pe­riod. An­thony Tol­liver scored the first three points of the fourth quar­ter on a free throw and jam to cut the Thun­der’s lead to 73- 69

West­brook ended At­lanta’s 11-0 run with a jam fol­low­ing an of­fen­sive re­bound by Nick Col­li­son.

The Hawks stayed close as Wil­liams had two 3-point­ers in the fi­nal pe­riod. Teague and Kyle Korver also had 3s in the fi­nal pe­riod for At­lanta.

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 back to 10 points at 85-75.

With about 3 min­utes re­main­ing, Du­rant hit a fall­away jumper. Less than a minute late, he made a spin move and then sank a 3-pointer over Korver.

Rock­ets 125, 76ers 103: James Har­den had 33 points and seven as­sists for host Hous­ton.

Har­den topped 20 points for the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive game to send the 76ers to their fifth straight loss. He made 17 of 18 free throws, in­clud­ing six in the fourth quar­ter, as Hous­ton im­proved to 9-2 in its last 11 home games.

Toney Dou­glas heated up in the fourth quar­ter for the Rock­ets, hit­ting five 3-point­ers and scor­ing all 17 of his points.

Re­serve Nick Young scored 21 points to lead Philadel­phia, which matched its most lop­sided loss of the sea­son.

Knicks 100, Nets 86: Carmelo An­thony scored 31 points in his re­turn to the lineup to lead host New York past its city ri­val.

Celtics 103, Cava­liers 91: Paul Pierce scored 25 of his sea­son-high 40 points in the sec­ond half, car­ry­ing host Bos­ton.

Magic 90, Wizards 83: J.J. Redick scored 17 points and fel­low re­serve E’Twaun Moore had 15 for host Or­lando.

Pac­ers 104, Jazz 84: Re­serve guard Ger­ald Green scored a sea­son­high 21 points as host In­di­ana matched its largest vic­tory mar­gin of the sea­son.

Rap­tors 97, Pis­tons 91: DeMar DeRozan had 23 points and Alan An­der­son scored 12 of his 16 in the fourth quar­ter for host Toronto.

Thun­der for­ward Kevin Du­rant looks to pass around Hawks cen­ter Al Hor­ford dur­ing the first half in At­lanta. Du­rant’s 41 points set a sea­son high as Ok­la­homa City avenged a Novem­ber home loss against At­lanta.

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