Thunder eke by Pistons to earn West's second seedApr 17, 2014 - 6:41 AM
Lucky for them, it was the last one -- clinching them the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Kevin Durant's driving dunk with 16.5 seconds remaining sent the Thunder to a regular season-ending 112-111 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night and a first-round playoff matchup with Memphis.
Durant, one possession after he couldn't get an easy putback to fall, drove past Kyle Singler on the left side for the two-handed slam and Oklahoma City's first lead since there were eight minutes left in the third quarter.
At the other end, Thabo Sefolosha stripped Jonas Jerebko, leading to a wild scramble and ultimately a jump ball that Detroit won. Greg Monroe tipped it back to Brandon Jennings, who hit the rim with an off-balance 3-point try at the buzzer.
Durant got 29 of his 42 points in the second half, including 21 in the fourth quarter, and wrapped up his fourth NBA scoring title in the last five years. Russell Westbrook added 22 points, Reggie Jackson scored 15 off the bench and Serge Ibaka had 10 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks.
The Thunder (59-23) snapped a two-game losing streak, winning the No. 2 seed over the Los Angeles Clippers on the last day of the season. They went 3-1 against the Grizzlies this season after losing to them in the conference semifinals last year. The series starts Saturday.
"A lot of good things took place, a lot of improvement and growth," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, summing up the season. "I thought our guys really competed all year. ...
"With that said," he added, "I'm not overly thrilled with how we played tonight."
The Pistons (29-53) lost their last four games and went 7-24 over their final 31 since beating San Antonio on Feb. 10 to cap a three-game winning streak. They have missed the playoffs five straight seasons for the first time since a six-year stretch between 1978-83.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 20 points in the first half and led Detroit with 30. Andre Drummond and Monroe added 22 points each and Singler scored 20.
"Our guys played their hearts out, competed from the opening tip," Detroit interim head coach John Loyer said. "I feel terrible for them because they deserved to win the game."
Drummond fouled out with 4:02 left and Detroit leading by seven. Durant made both free throws and the Thunder outscored the Pistons 14-6 at the end of the game, including Westbrook's foul shots with 66 seconds left to get them within a point.
Earlier, the Thunder had a six-point lead early, but trailed by two after the first quarter. The Pistons led by as many as 11 after a quick 8-0 burst that was sparked by consecutive 3-pointers from Jerebko and Caldwell-Pope but the Thunder pulled within one at halftime, 55-54.
Detroit pushed its lead to eight, going into the fourth quarter ahead 87-79.
The Thunder are in the playoffs for the fifth straight year after winning their fourth straight Northwest Division title ... They have beaten Detroit 10 straight times since their last loss in the series on Dec. 26, 2008.
Apr 16 10:36 PM
- DETROIT: 111
OKLAHOMA CITY: 112
End of Regulation
Apr 16 10:35 PM
- DETROIT: 87
OKLAHOMA CITY: 79
End of 3rd
Apr 16 9:53 PM
- DETROIT: 55
OKLAHOMA CITY: 54
Apr 16 9:07 PM
- DETROIT: 30
OKLAHOMA CITY: 28
End of 1st
Apr 16 8:44 PM
- DETROIT: 0
OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 11:44
Apr 16 8:11 PM
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