The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 2, 2014

Durant, Westbrook spark OKC win

By Cliff Brunt, AP Sports Writer
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook had 26 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Charlotte Bobcats 116-99 Sunday night.

Durant made just 8 of 24 field goals, but sank all 12 of his free throws.

Westbrook was 10 of 12 from the floor in 25 minutes in his fifth game since returning from right knee surgery. Reggie Jackson scored 17 points and Serge Ibaka had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which won its second straight after losing its first three games following the All-Star break. Oklahoma City outrebounded the Bobcats 44-29.

Al Jefferson scored 25 points and Anthony Tolliver added 17 for the Bobcats, who had won four straight before losses to San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

Westbrook scored 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the first half to help the Thunder take a 61-55 lead at the break.

The Bobcats started off hot in the second half. A 3-point play by Gerald Henderson trimmed Oklahoma City’s lead to 61-60. The Thunder responded with a 6-0 run, including two putback baskets by Steven Adams, to take a 67-60 lead.

Westbrook showed some of his famed explosiveness after a steal. He drove down court, then extended his right arm and elevated for a powerful one-handed throwdown to give the Thunder a 77-67 lead.

The Bobcats hung tough and trailed just 85-81 at the end of the third quarter. Charlotte cut the deficit to 86-84 early in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder responded with an 8-2 run.

 A perfectly executed pick-and-roll ended with Durant scoring on a pass from Westbrook, and Ibaka scored on the next possession to give the Thunder a 104-92 lead and put the game out of reach.

NOTES: Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti announced before the game that Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha would miss four to six weeks with a left calf strain. Sefolosha left Friday’s game against Memphis in the first half and didn’t return. ... Several Oklahoma City players, including Durant and Westbrook, traveled to Stillwater, Okla., Saturday night to watch Oklahoma State upset No. 5 Kansas. ... Presti said new acquisition Caron Butler will be with the team Monday after the Thunder signed him Saturday. ... Durant was called for a technical foul in the first quarter after being whistled for a carry and disagreeing with the call.