Thunder hold off furious rally by NetsJan 27, 2009 - 6:20 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- The Oklahoma City Thunder will take any win they can get. Even if it's after nearly blowing a 30-point lead.
Kevin Durant scored 18 points to lead five players in double figures and the Thunder staved off a big rally for a 94-85 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Monday.
Jeff Green and rookie Russell Westbrook each scored 13 points for the Thunder, who won for the fifth time in eight games.
"It was a great win," Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks said. "We played one of the best quarters we've played all year in the third quarter. We were just as good offensively as we were defensively. We were very unselfish with the basketball, but the defense we played was even more impressive."
Oklahoma City held a one-point lead after one quarter and started to create some distance for itself with a 9-2 run to end the first half, taking a 51-40 advantage at the break.
The Thunder carried the momentum into the second half, opening up a 65-42 bulge on the heels of a 14-2 run with 8:37 left in the third quarter. Westbrook had a dunk in transition and Durant ended the burst with a layup.
"We totally got outworked, we were lucky that it was that close at halftime," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "But the effort that Oklahoma City came out with in the third quarter (to) go on that run was very very disappointing."
Oklahoma City, which made its first nine shots of the second half, continued to pour it on as Westbrook made a pair of free throws to extend the bulge to 74-47 with 5:46 left in the third. Earl Watson's jumper at the third-quarter buzzer made it 82-54.
"That was the best we have played in a 12-minute stretch all year," Westbrook said. "We shot 80 percent, we shared the ball, and everything fell into place for us."
The lead would swell to 88-58 - Oklahoma City's largest of the season - before New Jersey attempted a comeback, scoring 20 consecutive points to make it an 88-78 contest with 1:23 remaining.
Maurice Ager's layup cut the deficit to 89-82 with 1:02 left, but that would be as close as New Jersey could get.
"We can't let the fourth quarter comeback spoil what was a great performance by our guys," Brooks said. "We built a lead because of smart basketball, contended every shot, battled for every rebound, and did a good job of moving the ball."
Oklahoma City took a 30-13 advantage in free throws made and held New Jersey's top two leading scorers, Devin Harris and Vince Carter, to 6-of-29 shooting combined. Harris scored 10 points on 4-of-17 from the floor.
"Coach openly questioned our effort, and as a guy who is supposed to be a leader on this team, it embarrasses me to hear that," Harris said. "We need to be playing a lot better than we have, and it starts with me. It bothers me that we put out that effort. It bothers me that I wasn't on the floor in the fourth quarter."
Rookie Brook Lopez scored 18 points to pace the Nets, who have lost six of seven.
"I think it's safe to say that this was one of the most uninspired performances we've had all year," Frank said. "This road trip has not been kind to us, and we've shot ourselves in the foot. We have moments where we play well, but we are playing through stretches where we simply cannot do the little things right."
NEW JERSEY 85
OKLAHOMA CITY 94 FINAL
Jan 26 10:28 PM
NEW JERSEY 54
OKLAHOMA CITY 82 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 26 9:48 PM
NEW JERSEY 40
OKLAHOMA CITY 51 HALFTIME
Jan 26 9:06 PM
NEW JERSEY 24
OKLAHOMA CITY 24 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 26 8:34 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
- 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
- Klay Thompson has carried Warriors this postseason May 19