Durant's triple-double pushed Thunder past Wolves
By Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange
Minnesota 103 Oklahoma City 113
OKLAHOMA CITY -- For three quarters, it looked as if the Oklahoma City Thunder were going to have another night of drama.
Two days after winning on a last-second shot in overtime, the Thunder played another thriller Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves -- at least through the first 36 minutes.
However, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant had no plans of allowing the suspense to continue to the buzzer. Behind his fourth career triple-double, he spearheaded a fourth-quarter outburst that led the Thunder to a 113-103 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"We got into them, we touched them up and we didn't let them run when they wanted to run," Durant said. "We were bumping them and being physical. We need to do that all game."
Durant finished with 32 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, four steals and four blocked shots. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first player with at least those numbers in a single game since blocks and steals became official stats in 1973-74.
Even so, Durant was more concerned with what he didn't do.
"I wish I could've made a few more shots," said Durant, who shot 14-for-21 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range. "I turned the ball over a few times and gave them some open breaks."
Minnesota led 83-78 after the third quarter, but Oklahoma City heated up to begin the fourth.
Durant started off with a 3-pointer at the top of the key, and he got an assist on guard Jeremy Lamb's 3-pointer that give the Thunder a one-point advantage. Jackson then forced the Timberwolves to call a timeout with a jumper to complete the 8-0 run over the first two minutes with Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and point guard Ricky Rubio on the bench.
The Timberwolves got as close as 94-90 before Durant, guard Reggie Jackson and guard Russell Westbrook hit shots from all over the court to put the contest away.
The Thunder (12-3) outscored the Timberwolves 35-20 in the fourth quarter to extend their winning streak to six games.
"(The Thunder) just started hitting shots, and they got their crowd into it," Love said. "They're pretty good at home. I don't know if they've lost here yet."
The Thunder moved to 9-0 at home this season, a mark that Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks says is largely due to the fans.
"I love 'Loud City,'" Brooks said. "They keep us going. The crowd is great. We've got a great crowd that our players don't want to let down. It's as simple as that."
Westbrook contributed 19 points, five assists and three steals. Jackson came off the bench to score 18 on 8-for-11 shooting.
Guard Kevin Martin paced Minnesota with 24 points on 6-for-16 shooting. Center Nikola Pekovic added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Love had 16 points and 12 boards.
"We played great through three quarters, but we had some slippage a little in the fourth," Martin said. "They turned up the pressure. We played tired and lost our confidence with what we're supposed to do. We'll learn from that and move on."
NOTES: Minnesota G Kevin Martin made his first return to Oklahoma City since he left the Thunder in the offseason. "It felt different playing in this building, " Martin said. "It was fun going up against that level of competition, just playing with the guys you went through the grind with last year. It was a good night to get it out of the way." ... Oklahoma City started the day fifth in the NBA in blocks per game despite having only two players with at least 10. F Serge Ibaka (36) and C Steven Adams (16) led the way, and Ibaka added three to his total against the Wolves. F Kevin Durant blocked four shots Sunday, giving him 11 on the season. ... Two days after Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook hit a last-second 3-pointer to beat the Golden State Warriors in overtime, Thunder coach Scott Brooks wasn't worried about a letdown from his team. "We've had so many games like that," Brooks said. "I think our guys understand that game is behind us. It was a great finish and an incredible atmosphere."