The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

December 1, 2013

Durant triple-double sparks Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant recorded his first triple-double of the season with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied for yet another fourth-quarter win, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-103 on Sunday night.

Oklahoma City extended its winning streak to seven games, tops in the Western Conference, and moved to 9-0 on the season at home. It’s the franchise’s longest home winning streak to open a season since the 2004-05 campaign, when the team played in Seattle.

Kevin Martin, in his return to Oklahoma City after joining Minnesota during the offseason, led the Timberwolves with 24 points, while Nikola Pekovic had 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Thunder have beaten Minnesota eight straight times at home, dating to the 2008-09 season, the franchise’s first in Oklahoma City.

Minnesota led 83-78 entering the fourth quarter but wilted against Oklahoma City’s defense, scoring just 20 points. Meanwhile, Durant had two of the Thunder’s six 3-pointers in the quarter and finished off his fourth career triple-double. His previous three came last season.

Overcoming large deficits has been a Thunder specialty this season. Oklahoma City rallied from double-digit, second-half deficits in wins over Denver and Washington, and trailed by 11 points in the first half against the Timberwolves.

Durant and Jeremy Lamb each hit a 3-pointer during an 8-0 run by Oklahoma City to start the fourth quarter, with Lamb’s giving the Thunder their first lead at 84-83. Reggie Jackson and Durant later hit 3-pointers to put Oklahoma City up 94-88 with 7:48 left and the Thunder weren’t threatened after that.

The Timberwolves routed Oklahoma City 100-81 in the second game of the season, on Nov. 1, although the Thunder played without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook in that game.

Westbrook scored 19 points Sunday and Jackson came off the bench to finish 8 of 11 from the field and score 18 points, helping the Thunder shoot a season-best 56.3 percent.

Serge Ibaka added 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots for Oklahoma City. Kevin Love had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, hitting his first three 3-point attempts in the first quarter but missing his other three attempts.

Minnesota led by as many as 11 points during a freewheeling first half. Martin scored 17 points, while Durant countered with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting for the Thunder, who shot 58 percent.

Martin’s third 3-pointer put the Timberwolves up 56-46 with 2:29 left in the half, but Oklahoma City closed on a 9-2 run, with seven points from Durant during that stretch.

NOTES: As do most former Thunder players, when Martin was introduced before the game, he received a polite round of applause and a few cheers from the crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena . Oklahoma City C Kendrick Perkins and Pekovic both received technical fouls after getting tangled up under the Minnesota basket early in the third quarter . When Minnesota G Ricky Rubio gave a “What? Me?” look after being called for a first-quarter foul while guarding Westbrook, referee Joey Crawford yelled at Rubio, “Don’t be looking at me like that.” Rubio picked up his second foul soon after, also from Crawford . Oklahoma City swept its season-high, six-game homestand. It’s just the second time the franchise has swept a homestand of six games or longer. Seattle swept a seven-game homestand during the 1977-78 season.

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