Thunder-Hawks Preview

There doesn’t appear to be anyone who can slow the Oklahoma City

Thunder once they get on a roll – not even the NBA’s best defensive


Given the way Kevin Durant has played in Atlanta, the Thunder’s

current tear could continue Tuesday night when they take on the


Following their only defeat over the past 11 games – a 111-104

loss at Portland on Dec. 4 – the Thunder (15-4) recovered by

scoring 227 points and shooting 55.8 percent in back-to-back


On Sunday, they put up the most points allowed by Indiana in

almost two years in an impressive 118-94 home win. Their

season-best 61.0 field-goal percentage was the highest given up by

Indiana since March 15, 2008.

The league-best Pacers lead the NBA in opponent scoring (89.5)

and shooting percentage (40.8), but Durant helped Oklahoma City

break the trend with 36 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Russell Westbrook added 26 points and 13 assists.

The star tandem also shot a combined 25 of 40 to help the

Thunder win by double digits for the sixth time during the 10-1

stretch. Durant’s point total was also the most by a single player

against Indiana this season.

“I take everything personal, no matter who I’m playing,” said

Durant, who has 65 points on 25-of-40 shooting over his last two

games. “I’m always grateful for the opportunity to play, so I never

want to take it for granted. … Of course, playing one of the best

teams in the league, you’ve always got to bring it a little bit

more, I guess, and I think we all did that.”

Durant, averaging a league-high 28.9 points, has brought his

best on recent trips to Atlanta. The four-time All-Star has totaled

76 points and 21 rebounds in his last two road games against the

Hawks (11-10).

In the most recent meeting Dec. 19, Durant scored 41 points on

14-of-23 shooting to go with 13 rebounds, while Westbrook had 27

points and 11 assists in a 100-92 win.

Though the Hawks have allowed an average of 107.7 points on 52.6

percent shooting during a three-game road skid, they’ve given up

91.0 points and a 41.7 percentage over a three-game home winning


Al Horford led seven players in double figures with 22 points

and nine rebounds, and Paul Millsap added 16 and 14, respectively,

in Friday’s 108-89 victory over Cleveland.

Kyle Korver also set an NBA record by hitting a 3-pointer for a

90th straight game for the Hawks, who have shot 40.4 percent from

long range while reaching 100 points in four consecutive


“It feels good, I’m glad it’s done,” Korver said after finishing

with 10 points and hitting 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. “My naps the

last couple (game days) haven’t been very solid.”

Since averaging 20.6 points in his first eight home games, Jeff

Teague has just 19 combined over his last two. He’ll look to bounce

back after scoring 17.0 per game on 23-of-38 shooting in his last

three against Oklahoma City.

The Thunder, however, have limited their last two opponents to a

combined 189 points on 38.7 percent shooting. They rank in the

league’s top five with a 42.3 defensive field-goal percentage


The Oklahoma City franchise has won 14 of its last 18 in Atlanta

dating to its days as the Seattle SuperSonics.