The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 14, 2012

Thunder win 10th straight


Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Serge Ibaka added 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Sacramento Kings 113-103 on Friday night for their 10th straight win.

It’s the franchise’s longest winning streak since November 1996, when it won 11 in a row as the Seattle SuperSonics.

The Kings didn’t go away easily, closing to 103-98 after trailing by as many as 24 in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Thomas scored all 26 of his points in the final 131⁄2 minutes. He had four 3-pointers, a layup and a jumper during a 23-4 comeback attempt by Sacramento.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks had already emptied his bench, but ended up calling timeout to put starters back in and hold off the Kings.

Durant, Russell Westbrook and Ibaka got the call to come back with 4:17 to play after Sacramento had cut the deficit to 10. Durant, who wrote Newtown, CT on one shoe as a reference to the school shooting earlier in the day, missed his first shot and Westbrook didn’t even catch the rim on his first attempt, with Thomas running right through the defense for a layup in between.

Jimmer Fredette’s three free throws with 3:21 left made it 103-98, but that’s as close as it got. Fredette couldn’t connect on a 3-pointer or a drive to the basket, and Thomas also missed a 3 as Oklahoma City regained its footing.Durant recovered the ball after getting stripped and dropped in a layup before back-to-back Ibaka baskets extended the lead to 109-98.

Martin scored 18 and Westbrook had 13 points and 13 assists for Oklahoma City.

Tyreke Evans had 21 points and Jason Thompson finished with 15 for Sacramento, which was outrebounded 43-29.

After falling behind by 20 late in the first half, Sacramento scored the first seven points in the third quarter and a couple minutes later cut the deficit to 65-55 following back-to-back 3-pointers by Aaron Brooks and John Salmons.

The margin was 12 when Kings coach Keith Smart called a timeout to prevent DeMarcus Cousins from attempting to take the ball coast to coast, then ripped into his players. Whatever he said didn’t seem to provide much inspiration.

The Thunder restored their 20-point cushion on Martin’s two free throws with 9:46 remaining. Martin’s layup pushed the lead to 99-75 just after seldom-used reserve Reggie Jackson entered for Oklahoma City. DeAndre Liggins, who plays even less, came in shortly thereafter.

The starters weren’t quite done yet, though.

Martin had bookend 3-pointers in a 22-4 surge that put Oklahoma City firmly in control in the second quarter. Ibaka and Durant both had two-handed dunks during the run, and Durant also converted a 3-pointer and two free throws.

The Kings went 2 for 9 and committed four turnovers during the stretch before Kendrick Perkins delivered a firm screen to get Martin open for his 3-pointer to make it 56-36 with 2:37 left in the first half.

Sacramento led for just 39 seconds in the game, following a three-point play by Evans late in the first quarter. Martin hit a pair of free throws two possessions later to start a string of seven straight Thunder points, and Oklahoma City didn’t trail again.

THUNDER 113, KINGS 103

SACRAMENTO (103) — Salmons 1-7 0-0 3, Thompson 6-7 3-4 15, Cousins 3-12 4-4 10,  Brooks 4-8 3-3 13, Evans 8-12 5-7 21, Robinson 1-2 4-4 6,  Fredette 0-4 5-5 5, Garcia 1-6 0-0 2, Hayes 0-2 0-0 0,  Johnson 0-2 2-2 2, Thomas 10-13 2-2 26. Totals 34-75 28-31 103.

OKLAHOMA CITY (113) — Durant 10-14 9-9 31, Ibaka 8-16 2-2 18, Perkins 2-6 0-0 4,  Westbrook 4-13 4-4 13, Sefolosha 5-9 2-2 15, Collison 3-4 0-0 6,  Martin 5-13 5-5 18, Thabeet 1-2 0-0 2, Maynor 2-4 0-0 4,  Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Liggins 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 41-83 22-22 113.



Sacramento   26    16    26    35    —    103

Oklahoma City29    32    21    31    —    113



3-Point Goals—Sacramento 7-19 (Thomas 4-7, Brooks 2-4, Salmons 1-4,  Evans 0-1, Fredette 0-1, Garcia 0-2), Oklahoma City 9-21 (Sefolosha 3-5,  Martin 3-8, Durant 2-3, Westbrook 1-4, Maynor 0-1). Fouled Out—None.  Rebounds—Sacramento 34 (Cousins 7), Oklahoma City 52 (Ibaka 11).  Assists—Sacramento 18 (Thompson 4), Oklahoma City 29 (Westbrook 13).  Total Fouls—Sacramento 19, Oklahoma City 24. Technicals—Brooks, Durant,  Perkins. A—18,203 (18,203).