Durant Drops 41 On Hawks As OKC Wins 12th Straight
ATLANTA - Beat him once, shame on you. Kevin Durant wasn't going to get beat again.
Durant's season-high 41 points helped the Thunder avenge one of their four losses this season, beating the Hawks in Atlanta Wednesday night 100-92.
Durant scored 28 of his points in the second half, seemingly hammering one nail after another into the Hawks' coffin down the stretch of the fourth quarter. He also hauled in 13 boards.
Things were pretty even early on, but after a back-and-forth first quarter, the Thunder opened things up a bit. OKC opened the second frame on a 9-3 run to grab a 32-23 lead before Atlanta attempted to stop the bleeding with a timeout at the 9:22 mark.
The key word there is "tried," as Oklahoma City continued to extend its lead throughout the quarter. The gap got as high as 17 points at 55-38 before Kyle Korver's three-pointer cut it to 55-41 just before the half.
While Durant carried the load in the second half, Russell Westbrook handled those duties in the first. Westbrook led the Thunder with 21 in the first session, while Jeremy Lamb earned some rare first-half playing time, scoring five points in five minutes.
It looked for a while that OKC might pull away in the third quarter, but the Hawks closed the period on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 73-66.
The Thunder continued their cold streak by missing their first five shots of the fourth period until Westbrook finally broke the ice with a thunderous dunk at the 9:00 mark. That triggered an 11-6 run that put OKC back up double-digits, and thanks to Durant, that lead would hold up.
KD scored 18 of Oklahoma City's 20 points during a dominant six-minute stretch in the fourth that put the game away.
Westbrook finished with 27 points (six in the second half) and 11 assists to aid Durant's effort. No one else for OKC finished in double-digits.
The Hawks (15-8) were led by Jeff Teague's 19 points and nine assists. Josh Smith added 17 and 12 rebounds for Atlanta.
The win improves the Thunder to 21-4 and increases their winning streak to 12 games. If OKC can beat the Timberwolves Thursday night, it would have a chance to tie the franchise record (including Seattle) for consecutive wins (14) against the Heat on Christmas Day.