Durant scores 48 as Thunder edge WolvesJan 5, 2014 - 6:24 AM
With the game tied at 111-111, Durant dribbled off a screen and knocked through an 18-footer with the Timberwolves' Dante Cunningham in his face, with the basket enabling the Thunder to overcome a 13-point deficit with under 11 minutes left.
Minnesota had a chance for the win when Kevin Love was fouled by Kendrick Perkins on a 3-point attempt with 2.2 seconds remaining, but missed the first two foul shots before an intentional miss failed to hit the rim.
"We had three free throws to put us ahead, and two to tie it. It is just one of those things that happens. It happens to the best of the players," said T'Wolves coach Rick Adelman.
Durant poured in a remarkable 23 points in the final period to nearly single- handedly lead Oklahoma City back in its eighth consecutive triumph on the road. The Thunder entered Saturday's matchup off back-to-back home defeats to Portland and Brooklyn.
"There are many reasons why I love our guys. They play with a high competitive spirit. They understand that it is about the team and they don't like to lose," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
Love finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic amassed 31 points and 11 boards for Minnesota. Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer had 17 and 15 points, respectively, in the loss.
Trailing most of the game and down 92-79 early in the fourth quarter, the Thunder roared back as Durant caught fire. The All-Star forward racked up 13 points during a 14-2 run he capped with a beyond-the-arc jumper that cut the lead to 94-93 with 7:53 left to play.
Serge Ibaka's bank shot with 4:45 remaining drew Oklahoma City even at 100-100, and neither team led by more than four points over the duration as the outcome remained in doubt entering the final stages.
Love hit a spinning contested layup with 27 seconds to go to forge a 111-111 deadlock, setting the stage for Durant's heroics and Love's chance to send his team back ahead after Perkins got a piece of his arm. He misfired two straight times from the line, however, before Durant sealed the win by making two free throws with 1.8 seconds showing.
The Timberwolves closed out the first half on an 8-2 run to claim a 55-49 advantage at the break, then extended the margin by coming out strong to start the third quarter. Martin followed a Ricky Rubio layup with a basket off a Thunder turnover just over 3 1/2 minutes into the period, staking Minnesota to a double-digit lead at 65-54.
Oklahoma City closed within 70-67 when Durant converted a 3-point play with just over five minutes left in the third quarter, but Love and Pekovic led a 9-2 spurt and Minnesota carried an 87-77 lead into the fourth.
Love and Pekovic each netted eight points as Minnesota built a 30-26 edge after one quarter, but the Thunder opened the second with a 13-4 spurt to go up 39-34 following a Derek Fisher 3-pointer four minutes into the frame.
Oklahoma City's eight-game road win streak is the franchise's longest since the Seattle SuperSonics posted eight straight from Jan. 24-Feb. 27, 2002 ... Durant was held to a season-low 13 points in the Thunder's last visit to the Target Center, a 100-81 T-Wolves' victory on Nov. 1 ... Fisher finished with 13 points off the bench as the Thunder's reserves outscored Minnesota's by a 40-5 margin ... Rubio tallied 13 points and 10 assists ... Oklahoma City had lost in each of its three previous trips to Minneapolis.
Jan 4 10:37 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 115
End of Regulation
Jan 4 10:37 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 77
End of 3rd
Jan 4 9:51 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 49
Jan 4 9:08 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 26
End of 1st
Jan 4 8:36 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 11:37
Jan 4 8:11 PM
- Warriors-Thunder Preview May 23
- Draymond, Westbrook swap barbs over fouls, kicks May 23
- Warriors' Green could face discipline after flagrant foul May 23
- Durant, Westbrook lead Thunder in blowout win over Warriors May 23
- Mark Cuban tells 'Meet The Press' Thunder are his title pick May 22
- Warriors-Thunder Preview May 21
- Warriors' big men must come up big in Game 3 against Thunder May 21
- Donovan, Kerr took very different paths to NBA coaching May 21
- Timberwolves will not retain Newton, Kander May 20
- Thunder will try to bounce back after big loss to Warriors May 20
- Column: Savor our version of Magic-Bird - Curry vs LeBron May 20
- Stephen Curry's sore right elbow not limiting him on court May 20