for this game

Durant shines as Thunder storm Kings

Feb 9, 2009 - 4:30 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Kevin Durant scored 39 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder held on for a 116-113 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Nick Collison chipped in 15 points and reserve Nenad Krstic added 14 for the Thunder, who led by as many as 19 and took a 59-46 advantage into the break.

"Kevin every night is showing why he is such a special player," Oklahoma City interim coach Scott Brooks said. "He can create in so many ways, and get to the basket.

"Not to take away from the efforts of Nick Collison and Nenad Krstic but, if Kevin doesn't go for 39, I don't know if we win that game."

Beno Udrih finished with 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting and John Salmons collected 23 and 11 assists for the Kings, who have lost three straight games and 11 of their last 12.

"Another disappointing loss. However, our guys did respond at halftime," Sacramento coach Kenny Natt said. "We have to learn a lesson of not spotting a team 15 points, we are just not that good."

Sacramento had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the final seconds, but Francisco Garcia's 3-point attempt was well off target and Oklahoma City forward Jeff Green grabbed the rebound.

After sinking his free throw to provide the final margin with three ticks left, Green's second attempt rattled out, but the Kings failed to secure the rebound and the clock ran down to three-tenths of a second left.

Needing a miracle 3-point deflection, Sacramento could not inbound the ball and called a timeout it did not have. While Durant missed the technical free throw, the Thunder ended the game with an inbounds pass.

"We were stuck in that situation, with (three-tenths of a second) left, we knew we couldn't catch and shoot," Kevin Martin said. "They covered everyone, and we just couldn't get anyone open. Made the mistake of calling a timeout and I knew it immediately."

John Salmons cut the Kings' deficit to 115-113, knocking down a 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining.

On the ensuing possession for Oklahoma City, Durant missed a jumper but Collison collected the rebound and was fouled with 13 ticks to play. Collison, however, was off the mark on both of his free throws, leaving the door open for Sacramento.

But Garcia's off-balance attempt from well outside the arc did not even hit the rim, bouncing off the backboard right to Green.

Kevin Martin, who finished with 23 points, buried a 3-pointer with 10:53 left to give Sacramento its first lead since early in the first quarter at 85-84.

"What can I say? We find a way to make games interesting," Brooks said. "We are a young team and we are going to make young team mistakes, but we seem to be stuck in this groove of big first half leads, undisciplined third quarters and making it close down the stretch."

"Early on we played very well, but they made a run, and made things interesting at the end," Durant said. "It's almost like this is contagious."