Martin Sparks Thunder To Eighth Consecutive Victory

Sunday, December 9th 2012, 10:36 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City's dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook found the sledding tough in the first half against Indiana on Sunday night, combining for 18 points on just 5-of-18 shooting. KD even launched up a few air balls.

But with OKC's all-stars struggling, Kevin Martin entered the game and lit up Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Martin kept the Thunder in the game in the first half, dropping 22 of his 24 points in the first two quarters on 6-of-7 shooting, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range and 7-of-8 from the foul line.

Martin's scoring spree kept the score close and allowed Durant and Westbrook time to find their rhythm, which they eventually did en route to a 104-93 victory against the Pacers.

Durant got things rolling in the second half to finish with a game-high 27 points. Westbrook also settled in on his way to a stat-sheet-stuffing outing with 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals, two blocks and just two turnovers.

Serge Ibaka joined Durant, Martin and Westbrook in double figures with 12 points along with nine rebounds and two blocks.

Despite the early struggles on the offensive end, OKC managed to charge from behind to take a 25-22 lead after the first quarter. The Thunder then charged out to a 13-point advantage in the second and looked poised to blow the Pacers out of the building but the lead evaporated as quickly as it appeared, as Indiana came back to take a lead momentarily before Eric Maynor sank a buzzer beater to give the Thunder a 57-56 halftime lead.

The second half proved to be a back-and-forth affair with a bevy of lead changes but Westbrook came out with a statement play in the fourth quarter that swung momentum fully in the Thunder's favor.

With OKC up seven, 7-foot-2 Indiana center Roy Hibbert received a pass in the lane and appeared to have an easy dunk to pull the Pacers within five with 3 minutes remaining. But things are not always as they appear.

Westbrook elevated as Hibbert gathered for the dunk, coming from Hibbert's side and stuffing him so hard they both fell to the floor. The crowd erupted as Westbrook charged down the floor and connected on a pull-up jumper to give nine-point lead.

The Thunder controlled the game from there, scoring over 100 points for the 12th-straight game and this one came against the NBA's stingiest scoring defense.

With the victory, OKC is on an eight-game winning streak. The longest streak the Thunder put together in last season's march to the NBA Finals was seven. The Thunder's longest winning streak since relocating to Oklahoma City was nine game, spanning from Jan. 29 -Feb. 21, 2010.

The Thunder has an opportunity to set a new mark in that category with relatively easy games against New Orleans and Sacramento upcoming before a Dec. 17 showdown with San Antonio. All three games are at The Peake.