Thunder 105, Pistons 104

The Oklahoma City Thunder showed Friday night they have other

options when Kevin Durant is covered during a tight game.

Jeff Green made a layup with 2.5 seconds left, lifting Oklahoma

City to a 105-104 win over the Detroit Pistons.

”Everybody in the gym thought KD was going to get the ball,”

Detroit’s Ben Gordon said. ”We did a helluva job not letting him

catch it.”

The Pistons did an awful job of defending Green, who made the

last of many easy shots against them.

”The play was for Kevin, but I saw he wasn’t open,” Green

said. ”I tried to get into the lane and either get a basket or get

a foul.”

Detroit was out of timeouts at the end of the game and failed to

attempt a shot, allowing the Thunder to spoil its home opener for

the second straight season.

Oklahoma City, expected to be a Western Conference power this

season, was in control for much of the game only to open the door

for a Detroit comeback in the final seconds.

The Thunder made their first 24 free throws and 37 of 44

overall, but Durant missed one with 14 seconds left and Serge Ibaka

split a pair with 18 seconds to go.

”I was kicking myself,” said Durant, who had 30 points for the

second straight game after leading the league in scoring last

season. ”But I knew I had to knock the second one down. I owe Jeff

something now because he picked me up there. Winning a game like

that on a broken play is huge – Jeff really came through.”

Charlie Villanueva made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds

left, but Detroit’s decision to deny Durant the ball at all costs

backfired.

”Tayshaun Prince really did too good of a job taking the ball

away from Durant,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. ”Jeff Green

didn’t know what to do but drive the ball and unfortunately, it

didn’t work out the way we wanted it to.”

Detroit dropped to 0-2 for the first time since losing the first

four games of the 1999-2000 season. The Pistons blew a seven-point

lead with 1:40 left at New Jersey and lost 101-98 in Wednesday

night’s opener.

”We have to get better closing out games,” Ben Wallace said.

”We did everything to give ourselves a chance to win, and we let

it slip away.

”It’s a long season. If we keep continue to play the way we’re

playing, our fortunes will turn and things will start to go our

way.”

Gordon had 32 points and Rodney Stuckey scored 24 for the

Pistons.

Oklahoma City took advantage of its ability to draw contact and

make free throws for the second straight game. The Thunder were 38

of 47 at the line in the season-opening win over the Chicago

Bulls.

Durant led the way for the up-and-coming Thunder and had plenty

of help.

Green scored 21, and Russell Westbrook had 17 points and 11

assists. Reserve Ibaka finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and

Nenad Krstic had 14 points.

Gordon, who had his second-highest scoring game as a Piston,

made 11 of 16 shots – including a pair of 3-pointers – and eight of

nine free throws.

His teammates didn’t get to the line much, combining to attempt

just 11 free throws, making eight of them.

Detroit’s Richard Hamilton had 14 points. Tayshaun Prince and

Villanueva each had 12.

”I feel bad for Detroit because they’ve played well twice and

not come away with anything either time,” Thunder coach Scott

Brooks said. ”That just shows you how hard it is to get a win in

this league.”

NOTES: Pistons owner Karen Davidson said she had no comment on

the pending sale of the team and won’t have anything to say

publicly when the deal is done. ”I’m going to hand over the keys

and walk away” Davidson said before the game. NBA Commissioner

David Stern said last week he was optimistic the sale would be

completed in November. Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike

Ilitch has been discussing terms of the deal for a few weeks during

an exclusive negotiating period. … The Thunder had five players

with at least two steals… Pistons G Will Bynum didn’t play

because of a hamstring injury.