Durant’s 41 carry Thunder to eighth victory in a row
OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant played the fourth quarter Monday night with the intensity of an NBA Finals game.
Showing plenty of emotion down the stretch and scowling at the Atlanta bench on multiple occasions, Durant scored 41 points to rally Oklahoma City past the Hawks 111-109 for the Thunder’s eighth consecutive victory.
The star forward hit the winning jumper with 1.5 seconds left, capping Oklahoma City’s comeback from a 14-point deficit in the second half.
“I know we play a lot of games and a lot of people say January doesn’t mean anything,” Durant said. “But when you’re playing this game with your heart and passion like we do, sometimes you’ve got to sit back and just enjoy it.”
Durant scored 13 in the fourth quarter, including a 16-foot, step-back jumper with 25.5 seconds remaining that put the Thunder ahead for the first time since the opening 2 minutes. Paul Millsap tied it for Atlanta before Durant knocked down the decisive 12-footer while being guarded by DeMarre Carroll.
“It was an emotional game. It was up and down the whole game,” Durant said. “My emotions were everywhere, so I just had to try to keep it together at the end of the game and make a play for my team.”
• NETS GIVE IT AWAY: Patrick Patterson stole Deron Williams’ inbounds pass and made the go-ahead jumper with six seconds left, and the Toronto Raptors stopped a five-game winning streak by the Brooklyn Nets for the second time this month with a 104-103 victory in New York. Brooklyn had a three-point lead with 17 seconds left behind Paul Pierce in his best game with the Nets, but John Salmons scored on a drive with 12 seconds remaining before Brooklyn took its last timeout to move the ball into the frontcourt. Patterson stole the pass and fed Kyle Lowry, who got it back to Patterson for his jumper. Pierce was well off on a final attempt.
• GERALD GREEN, SCORING MACHINE: Gerald Green had 30 points to lead Phoenix to a 124-113 victory over host Philadelphia. Phoenix led wire-to-wire over the hapless 76ers, one night after rallying from an 18-point halftime deficit to win at Cleveland. Green made his first seven shots until he botched a fastbreak dunk.
• SINGING A HAPPY TUNE: Blake Griffin dominated the paint with 20 points, Jamal Crawford scored 25 and the Los Angeles Clippers ended their seven-game road trip with a 114-86 win over Milwaukee. The Clippers went 5-2 on their annual sojourn away from the Staples Center for the Grammy Awards.