Durant, OKC Steamroll Pacers To Move Into First Place

Friday, April 5th 2013, 11:03 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City dominated the fourth quarter of Friday night's contest against the Indiana Pacers en route to arguably its best back-to-back wins of the season.

A night after earning a crucial victory against San Antonio, the Thunder went into Indianapolis on less than a day's rest and came away with an authoritative 97-75 victory at Indiana.

With the victory, Oklahoma City surpassed the Spurs for first place in the Western Conference standings for the first time since the All-Star break.

The Thunder appeared to be in a dog fight through three quarters against a stout Pacers team but OKC exploded in the third quarter, dominating Indiana by a 25-8 margin in the final period.

Fresh off his Western Conference Player of the Month award, it was Kevin Durant who led the charge. Durant scored 15 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter, as KD maintained his lead in the hunt for his fourth-straight NBA scoring title despite New York's Carmelo Anthony scoring 41 points on Friday.

RELATED: Durant Named Western Conference Player Of The Month

Durant had just two points after the first quarter on just 1-of-4 shooting but looked absolutely unstoppable the rest of the way, scoring 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting in the final three quarters. He also hauled in a game-best nine rebounds and connected on 6-of-7 free throws.

Russell Westbrook provided the early spark when KD was struggling, scoring 12 of his 24 points in the first quarter alone. Westbrook also had nine assists and seven rebounds.

Serge Ibaka was the only other Thunder player in double figures with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds and a block.

Center Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 22 points and eight rebounds. David West chipped in 17 points for Indiana, which fell 48-28 on the season and 29-9 at home.

After taking a 74-67 lead into the final quarter, the Thunder threw down the gauntlet by starting off the fourth on a 9-0 run. In fact, it was more the OKC defense than the offense that provided the spark. The Thunder didn't allow Indiana to hit a field goal until nearly four minutes into the fourth.

But that span wasn't the most impressive. After a quick pair of baskets by West for the Pacers, OKC held Indiana without a basket for the final 7:35 of the game.

The lone scare for Oklahoma City came right before halftime when Durant went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury but was later reported as a left-calf contusion. It didn't slow him down in the least, as he scored 20 points after the injury.

OKC returns to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday for a nationally-televised noon matchup with red-hot New York. The Knicks have won an NBA-best 11-straight games heading into the contest.