OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kevin Durant’s rare streak of games with least 25 points continued, and San Antonio’s run of 19 straight wins came to a halt.
Another streak might mean more than both of them – Oklahoma City’s season sweep. Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook scored 27 to help the Thunder defeat San Antonio 106-94 on Thursday night in a showdown of the top two teams in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City won all four games against the Spurs this season, and this was the most lopsided result.
”That’s a big thing,” Westbrook said. ”When you have a team that’s a good basketball team – they’re the No. 1 team in the West, and we want to be the best team, you’ve got to beat the best. I think we did a great job of that tonight.”
Serge Ibaka added 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder, who trail San Antonio by three games with eight remaining.
Durant scored at least 25 points for the 39th consecutive game, the longest streak since Michael Jordan did it 40 consecutive times during the 1986-87 season. He reached 25 on a free throw with 3:31 remaining, drawing a roar from the crowd.
”That was a cool feeling,” Durant said. ”I don’t want to take those moments for granted. It’s not what I’m really playing the game for, but it is still cool to see that support from such great fans, no matter what.”
Durant can match Jordan’s mark, the longest such streak in the past 50 years, Friday in Houston.
”That’s a lot of games to be scoring 25 points in a row,” Westbrook said. ”You can’t just not think about that. That’s an unbelievable stat. I think he may just finish the season doing that. He does that in his sleep.”
The Thunder shot 59 percent in the second half to pull away. Oklahoma City scored 30 points off San Antonio’s 19 turnovers.
”Too many turnovers led to too many points, and that’s the ballgame,” San Antonio guard Danny Green said. ”If we changed that, it’s probably a totally different game.”
Patty Mills scored 21 points and Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan each added 17 for the Spurs, who hadn’t lost since Feb. 21.
”We never thought about the streak in the first place,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ”To us, it is just another game.”
Spurs reserve Manu Ginobili did not play. The veteran guard was not listed on the injury report, and Popovich did not explain why Ginobili was out.
Oklahoma City trailed 51-43 in the second quarter before Westbrook drained a 3-pointer, then made a layup with 2.6 seconds left in the first half to cut the deficit to 51-48 at halftime. Westbrook had struggled with his shot before that flurry.
”You may miss a few shots here and there, but you’ve got to keep your mind in the game and stay in the moment,” Westbrook said.
The Thunder continued their surge in the second half. Rookie Andre Roberson hit a 3-pointer gave the Thunder a 57-56 lead. A lob from Reggie Jackson to Durant for a dunk gave Oklahoma City a 75-65 lead. Durant hit a running jumper in the closing seconds of the third quarter to put the Thunder up 80-71. He scored 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the period.
Oklahoma City pushed its lead to 16, but San Antonio went on an 8-0 run to pull to 91-83.
The Thunder regained control. Westbrook got into the open court, clutched and threw down a reverse dunk to bump Oklahoma City’s lead back up to 95-83 with 5:25 to play.
”We just made the second and third efforts,” Durant said. ”We did a good job of helping each other on the defensive end, and once you do that, you give yourself a good chance.”
The Spurs said they will study the game and move forward.
”You can learn a lot from a loss,” Green said. ”Obviously, I’d rather learn from a win, but sometimes, you feel like you can learn more from a loss. We’ll go back to the drawing board tonight.”
NOTES: Jackson played after sitting the previous two games with a mid-back sprain. … Thunder C Kendrick Perkins returned to action after missing the previous 17 games with a left groin strain he suffered against the Miami Heat. … Duncan and Perkins got tangled up early in the third quarter, and both were issued technical fouls. Perkins had his arm around Duncan, Duncan threw it off, and Perkins shoved Duncan. … Thunder reserve F Nick Collison left the game in the third quarter after he took an elbow to the head from San Antonio reserve F Jeff Ayres and was bleeding. He got four staples and was ready to play early in the fourth quarter. … Westbrook was issued a technical with 1:07 remaining after arguing with the officials.
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