Slowly but surely the Oklahoma City Thunder continues to silence its doubters.
And on Friday night this team set a new standard in Thunder history, winning its 10th straight game to set a record for consecutive wins for the franchise since relocating to Oklahoma City.
Things didn't always run smoothly in OKC's 113-103 victory against Sacramento at Chesapeake Energy Arena but the Thunder relied on another huge second-quarter burst to create a nearly insurmountable hurdle for the Kings to overcome.
OKC led 29-26 after a back-and-forth opening quarter and then, just as it has time and time again this season, the Thunder asserted its dominance in the second quarter.
With 9:30 remaining in the quarter, Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins sank a pair of free throws to pull the Kings within two but then Kevin Martin sank a deep 3-pointer to jumpstart a 16-2 run for the Thunder to take a commanding 50-34, outscoring Sacramento 32-16 in the quarter overall.
In the second half, Oklahoma City led by as many as 24 points following a Martin layup with 7:52 remaining in the game. After Martin's make, Thunder coach Scott Brooks sent the Thunder starters to the bench presumably for the rest of the game – not so fast.
Sacramento went on an 18-4 run against the Thunder reserves, prompting Brooks to turn back to KD, Westbrook and Co. in an effort to tap the breaks on the Kings' comeback but it didn't happen as quickly as Thunder fans might have hoped. The Kings scored five more unanswered for a 23-4 run to pull within five with 3:30 left.
Then Kevin Durant answered with a layup before a pair of Serge Ibaka baskets helped swell the OKC advantage back to 11 with 1:53 remaining, essentially shutting down any chance for the Kings.
Durant led all scorers with 31 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3 and 9-of-9 from the foul line. KD also had five rebounds, four steals and three assists despite turning the ball over six times. Ibaka and Martin scored 18 points each and Ibaka had a game-high 11 rebounds. Thabo Sefolosha added 15 points for OKC.
Westbrook had a tough shooting night, scoring just 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting, but dished out 13 assists and snared three steals in an effect performance.
Isaiah Thomas led Sacramento with 26 points off the bench while Tyreke Evans had 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting for the Kings, who fell to 7-15 on the season and 1-9 on the road.
Oklahoma City added another ‘W' to its NBA-best record, improving to 19-4 overall. The Thunder's 10-game winning streak, while the best since relocation, is still short of the franchise mark of 14 straight set by the Sonics in the 1995-96 season. If the Thunder can beat San Antonio, Atlanta and Minnesota, the team can tie the mark with a victory against the defending champion Miami Heat on Christmas Day.
OKC hosts the Spurs on Monday at 7 p.m. in the last game of a five-game home stand. San Antonio is 18-6 on the season but has lost two straight.