Durant shines again as Thunder overruns Hawks
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant continued his extraordinary scoring run by racking up 41 points — including the game-winning basket — as the Thunder staged an impressive comeback to beat Atlanta 111-109 on Monday.
Durant’s run of 11 straight games over 30 points is the longest in the NBA since Tracy McGrady passed the mark in 14 consecutive games in 2002-03.
The win extended the Thunder’s Western Conference lead to 2 games over San Antonio, and their divisional lead to 2-1/2 over Portland.
Elsewhere, Minnesota ended a run of defeats at the hands of Chicago, and Toronto won a thriller over Brooklyn to open a 2-1/2 game lead over the Nets atop the Atlantic Division.
Durant scored 13 in the fourth quarter, including a step-back jumper with 25.5 seconds remaining that put Oklahoma City ahead for the first time since the opening 2 minutes. The hosts had trailed by 14 points at one stage in the second half.
Atlanta tied it before Durant knocked down the decisive 12-footer with 1.5 seconds on the clock.
The Hawks had one more chance but the inbounds pass to Paul Millsap was knocked away. Millsap led the Hawks with 23 points.
Reggie Jackson had 18 points for Oklahoma City, which now prepares for a big game against Miami on Wednesday.
Minnesota’s Kevin Love scored 31 points to lead the Timberwolves to a 95-86 win over Chicago, which had won the previous seven meetings between the two teams.
Ronny Turiaf added 14 points off the bench for Minnesota, which won despite losing starting center Nikola Pekovic to an Achilles tendon injury in the first quarter.
Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who played without ailing center Joakim Noah (illness) and guard Kirk Hinrich (hamstring).
Toronto’s Patrick Patterson stole an inbounds pass and made the go-ahead jumper with 6 seconds left to give the Raptors a valuable 104-103 win at Brooklyn.
Brooklyn had a three-point lead with 17 seconds left, but baskets by John Salmons then Patterson turned it around to boost the Raptors chance of claiming the division crown. Kyle Lowry finished with 31 points and seven assists for Toronto.
Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce scored 33 points, making seven 3-pointers in his best-ever performance for the Nets. He scored the hosts’ last nine points before Toronto got ahead, and then missed a last-gasp attempt.
Phoenix’s Gerald Green scored 30 points as the Suns raced to a big early lead and held on to beat Philadelphia 124-113.
Los Angeles ended its seven-game road trip on a winning note, beat hapless Milwaukee 114-86, with Blake Griffin dominating inside with 20 points for the Clippers.
Utah was too strong for an undermanned Sacramento, beating the Kings 106-99, with Derrick Favors having 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz.