Thunder 126, Kings 96
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)
Defense turned into offense early for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
A fast start led to a season high in points as the Thunder cruised past the Sacramento Kings 126-96 on Tuesday night.
Oklahoma City scored 68 points in the first half, a season high for a half, and led by as many 25 points in beating the Kings for the second time in four days.
''That was about as good as they could possibly play to start the game,'' Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.
DeMarcus Cousins returned from a one-game suspension to lead Sacramento with a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.
''They jumped on us right from the start and we could never get back in the game,'' Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. ''It was a great performance by them. We couldn't stop them. We couldn't score.''
Kevin Durant went 5 for 18 from the field and scored 17 points. Nenad Krstic scored 16 for Oklahoma City as seven players finished in double figures and 11 different players scored in the Thunder's final game before the All-Star break.
''That was the best all year at the start of the game,'' Durant said. ''The defense was on point. The offensive was on point. We just clicked on all cylinders.''
Omri Casspi added 14 points for the Kings, who had won three straight road games before Tuesday.
On Saturday, Oklahoma City beat Sacramento 99-97 when Tyreke Evans' potential winning 3-pointer missed. The Thunder didn't have to worry about that Tuesday. Evans missed the game with plantar fasciitis and the Thunder led wire-to-wire.
Oklahoma City scored 37 points in the first quarter after hitting its first seven shots. It was the third-most points scored in a single quarter all season and most since Oklahoma City scored 38 points in the first quarter against Miami on Jan. 30.
''It all starts on the defensive end for our team,'' Cook said. ''If we bring it on the defensive end, we are going to get rewarded on the offensive end.''
Krstic scored seven straight points for the Thunder midway through the third quarter as Oklahoma City took a 28-point lead.
Cook knocked down a 30-footer as the shot-clock wound down to give Oklahoma City an 18-point lead. James Harden found Serge Ibaka for a dunk 39 seconds later, which gave the Thunder a 20-point lead with 7:15 remaining in the first half.
Cook hit another 3-pointer on Oklahoma City's next possession and Eric Maynor scored in transition 15 seconds later to cap a 13-0 run and put the Thunder ahead by 25.
''The ball was really moving around,'' Brooks said. ''When the defense has to chase the ball, we are a fun team to watch.''
Notes: Oklahoma City made its first 16 free throws and finished 28 for 30 from the line. The Thunder are the best free-throw shooting team in the NBA at 82.5 percent. ... Oklahoma City and the Memphis Grizzlies both have a week off after tonight's games, the longest All-Star break of all 30 NBA teams. ''We have a lot of days off,'' Brooks said. ''I'm going to tell our guys with five days off you have to do something. You can't take five days off and watch cartoons.'' ... A Spanish documentary crew is following Ibaka, who is averaging 9.3 points per game and is competing in the dunk contest and the Youth Jam Sophomore and Rookie game during the NBA All-Star break. ... At halftime, roughly 30 men and women were inducted into the U.S. Army. Durant applauded them as they were honored at center court.