Durant scores 51; Thunder top Raptors in 2 OTs
- Article by: IAN HARRISON
- Associated Press
- March 21, 2014 - 11:05 PM
TORONTO — Kevin Durant has played in plenty of exciting, amazing and memorable games.
This one topped them all.
"That was the craziest game I've ever been a part of," Durant said after his go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left in the second overtime helped the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Toronto Raptors 119-118 on Friday night.
Durant had 51 points and 12 rebounds and All-Star guard Russell Westbrook limped off in the third quarter as the Thunder rallied in the final minute of the second extra session to win an eventful, emotional affair.
"Down eight with (49 seconds) to go, and I missed a free throw late in the game, and we won?," Durant said. "Two guys foul out, Russell is out, back-to-back if you want to add everything into it. Craziest game."
Reggie Jackson had 25 points and 12 rebounds and Serge Ibaka scored 13 as the Thunder won their fourth straight and finished off a 3-0 road trip that also included wins at Chicago and Cleveland.
The Thunder are 12-2 on the road against Eastern Conference opponents.
DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points for Toronto and Amir Johnson had 25 points and 12 rebounds in his 500th career game. Kyle Lowry scored 25 and Greivis Vasquez fouled out after scoring 21.
Johnson said trying to defend Durant was a constant challenge.
"It's tough," the 6-foot-9 Johnson said. "He's my height and he can shoot from half court. There isn't too much you can do but double team him."
Toronto led 118-110 after a pair of free throws by Lowry with 49 seconds left, but Durant banked in a 3 and Derek Fisher also connected from long range.
Toronto's John Salmons missed a pair from the line with 9.7 seconds left, setting up Durant for his winning shot.
"We couldn't go another overtime," Durant said.
DeRozan had one final chance for Toronto, but his turnaround jumper came up well short.
"A lot of plays went our way," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "Everything had to go right and some things had to go wrong for them."
Durant has scored 25 or more in 34 straight games, the league's longest streak since Michael Jordan did it in 40 consecutive games in 1986-87. Durant connected on 15 of 32 attempts, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range, and went 14 for 19 at the free throw line. He also had seven assists.
"Kevin did a phenomenal job of making shots," Brooks said.
Westbrook scored 15 points before leaving at 7:37 of the third after injuring his knee in a collision with Lowry. Westbrook will be evaluated Saturday.
Westbrook, who sat out Thursday's win at Cleveland to rest the knee that was surgically repaired for the third time earlier this season, was injured when Lowry collided with him on a pump-fake near the sideline. Westbrook immediately turned and called timeout, bending over in pain. He hobbled along the sideline for a few steps and was tended to briefly by the trainer before walking off with help from center Hasheem Thabeet.
Westbrook had an ice pack on his knee after the game, but said he was "pain-free."
"I don't expect to miss any time," Westbrook said. "We'll just see how it goes."
Westbrook's knee problems began in April 2013, when he tore his meniscus in the second game of the Western Conference playoffs, sidelining him for the remainder of the postseason and all but ending Oklahoma City's chances of reaching the NBA Finals.
He had a second arthroscopic surgery as the Thunder were preparing for training camp after developing inflammation in the knee, but missed only two regular-season games before returning.
The three-time All-Star had surgery for a third time in late December and has been on a minutes restriction since returning Feb. 20 after a 27-game absence. He came in averaging 21.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 36 games this season.
"We're confident and we've just got to believe that everything is going to be all right," Durant said of Westbrook. "He's walking around. It seems like everything is all right."
Durant hit a tiebreaking 3 with 57 seconds left in the fourth quarter, putting the Thunder up 96-93, but Toronto tied it again when DeRozan made one of two from the line and Johnson scored a layup after grabbing the rebound on Lowry's missed jumper with 17 seconds left.
Oklahoma City inbounded the ball and let the clock run down to five seconds before getting the ball to Durant near midcourt. He passed to Fisher, but the veteran guard couldn't get a clean shot before the buzzer.
Lowry tied it at 107-107 on a 3 with seven seconds left in overtime. Jeremy Lamb missed a 3 with three seconds left and Durant came up short on a buzzer-beating jumper, sending it to a second overtime.
The Thunder are off Saturday and will practice Sunday before hosting Denver on Monday night.
"It's a well-deserved, earned day off tomorrow," Brooks said. "I probably won't need to even work out myself. There were a lot of calories burned. I can have some cookies tonight on the plane."
Durant started 1 for 6 against the Cavaliers on Thursday and was slow off the mark again in Toronto, missing six of his first seven field goal attempts. But he finished the first with a flourish, hitting a buzzer-beating jumper to give the Thunder a 22-20 lead after one.
The entire Thunder team went cold to start the second, missing eight straight shots as Toronto took the lead with a 10-0 run. Jackson stopped the drought with a pull-up jumper at 7:59.
Oklahoma City hit six of 25 attempts in the second, with Durant going 1 for 4. DeRozan scored seven for Toronto while Lowry and Johnson had six each, but a 3 by Westbrook with one second left cut Toronto's halftime lead to 46-42.
Durant scored 14 points in the third as the Thunder overcame Westbrook's departure to take a narrow 72-71 lead into the fourth.
NOTES: Toronto is 1-6 in overtime and has lost an NBA-record 10 straight OT games at home. Their last home win in overtime was March 29, 2009, against Chicago. ... Durant was called for a technical with 27 seconds left in the second after tangling with Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas on a free throw. It was Durant's 15th of the season, leaving him one away from a suspension. ... Valanciunas returned to Toronto's starting lineup after sitting out Wednesday's win at New Orleans with a sore lower back. He finished with 13 rebounds. ... The Raptors were seeking to sweep a season series against a sixth Western Conference opponent. Toronto won both ends against Dallas, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans and Utah. ... Canadian Olympic figure skater Patrick Chan attended the game.
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