Kevin Durant has triple-double, Thunder beat Wolves
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City may soon have to address the issue of slow defensive starts that lead to double-digit deficits. On Sunday, the Thunder just wanted to bask in another comeback win and another historical statistical performance by Kevin Durant.
Durant recorded his first triple-double of the season with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Thunder rallied for another fourth-quarter win, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-103.
Durant also added four blocked shots and four steals. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first NBA player to record 30 or more points, 10 or more rebounds, 12 or more assists, four or more steals and four or more blocks in the same game since blocks and steals became official NBA stats during the 1973-74 season.
“Kevin is a stat filler,” coach Scott Brooks said. “He can do it all and he has the ability to have large scoring nights, rebounding, assists and steals and blocked shots. He’s one of the few guys that can do that. That’s what makes us a good defensive team, because he can guard not only his man, he can guard multiple positions.”
Oklahoma City extended its winning streak to seven games, tops in the Western Conference, and moved to 9-0 on the season at home, matching the franchise’s longest home winning streak to open a season, set in Seattle in 2004.
“You always want to play tough, aggressive defensive basketball for 48 minutes,” Brooks said. “We didn’t do it tonight, but we came back in the second half and made some adjustments and took care of the things we thought were important. We have to play much better going on the road.”
Kevin Martin, in his return to Oklahoma City after joining Minnesota during the offseason, led the Timberwolves with 24 points, while Nikola Pekovic had 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Thunder have beaten Minnesota eight straight times at home, dating to the 2008-09 season, the franchise’s first in Oklahoma City.
Minnesota led 83-78 entering the fourth quarter but wilted against Oklahoma City’s defense, scoring just 20 points. Meanwhile, Durant had two of the Thunder’s six 3-pointers in the quarter and finished off his fourth career triple-double. His previous three came last season.
Asked if a triple-double meant anything to him, Durant didn’t even mention his stat line during his answer, focusing instead on his teammates’ defensive effort.
“I’m glad we got the W,” Durant said. “We came out a little sluggish on the defensive end early on, but they started off 80 percent (from the field). Holding them to 41 percent from the game was really big. I think our bigs did a good job of frustrating the two bigs on the other end. We kind of fed off their energy.”
Overcoming large deficits has been a Thunder specialty this season. Oklahoma City rallied from double-digit, second-half deficits in wins over Denver and Washington, and trailed by 11 points in the first half against the Timberwolves.
Durant and Jeremy Lamb each hit a 3-pointer during an 8-0 run by Oklahoma City to start the fourth quarter, with Lamb’s giving the Thunder their first lead at 84-83. Reggie Jackson and Durant later hit 3-pointers to put Oklahoma City up 94-88 with 7:48 left and the Thunder weren’t threatened after that.
“Well, it was a tough game,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. “I thought the boys played really well the first three quarters. We competed and moved the ball. Fourth quarter, we just went with that small lineup and had some miscommunication and they kind of took control of the game then.”
The Timberwolves routed Oklahoma City 100-81 in the second game of the season, on Nov. 1, although the Thunder played without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook in that game. Westbrook scored 19 points Sunday and Jackson came off the bench to finish 8 of 11 from the field and score 18 points, helping the Thunder shoot a season-best 56.3 percent.
Serge Ibaka added 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots for Oklahoma City. Kevin Love had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, hitting his first three 3-point attempts in the first quarter but missing his other three attempts. Love finished 4 of 14 from the field.
Minnesota led by as many as 11 points during a freewheeling first half. Martin scored 17 points, while Durant countered with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting for the Thunder, who shot 58 percent.
Notes: As do most former Thunder players, when Martin was introduced before the game, he received a polite round of applause and a few cheers from the crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena. . . . Oklahoma City C Kendrick Perkins and Pekovic both received technical fouls after getting tangled up under the Minnesota basket early in the third quarter. . . . When Minnesota G Ricky Rubio gave a “What? Me?” look after being called for a first-quarter foul while guarding Westbrook, referee Joey Crawford yelled at Rubio, “Don’t be looking at me like that.” Rubio picked up his second foul soon after, also from Crawford. . . . Oklahoma City swept its season-high, six-game homestand. It’s just the second time the franchise has swept a homestand of six games or longer. Seattle swept a seven-game homestand during the 1977-78 season.