Durant’s 41 lift Thunder to 12th straight victory
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.