Durant leads Thunder past Jazz 116-96
- Article by: CLIFF BRUNT
- Associated Press
- March 30, 2014 - 4:45 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant had 31 points and nine assists to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Utah Jazz 116-96 on Sunday afternoon.
Durant scored at least 25 points for the 38th consecutive game, the longest streak since Michael Jordan did it in 40 straight games for the Chicago Bulls during the 1986-87 season.
Russell Westbrook scored 19 points, Serge Ibaka had 17 points and Caron Butler added 15 for the Thunder, who have won six of seven. Oklahoma City shot 55 percent from the field and made 11 of 18 3-pointers and 23 of 26 free throws.
Enes Kanter had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Richard Jefferson scored 17 points and Gordon Hayward added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz, who have lost four in a row.
Utah trailed 11-0 before Jefferson finally scored with 7:34 left in the first quarter. Oklahoma City led 26-9 at the end of the quarter.
It matched the fewest points the Thunder have allowed in any quarter this season and was the lowest for the Jazz in a first quarter this season. Utah missed the NBA low for an opening quarter this season by making a basket with 19.5 seconds left.
Hayward's first basket came with 3:21 left in the first half. Even with his 3-point play, the Jazz still trailed 49-30.
Oklahoma City led 59-40 at halftime, and it might have been a larger lead if Jefferson hadn't dropped in 15 points in the first half, well above his season average of 10.2 points per game. Durant scored 18 points in the first half on 6-for-8 shooting and helped the Thunder shoot 57 percent before the break.
Durant was fouled on a 3-pointer with 4:02 left in the third quarter and was awarded three free throws. He scored his 24th point on the first one, and the crowd started buzzing before the second one. After he made it, the fans let out a loud cheer. He also made the third to give the Thunder an 84-56 lead.
Utah cut Oklahoma City's lead to 89-77 late in the quarter before Durant hit a 3-pointer over Hayward with two seconds remaining to push the lead back up to 15 points.
Hayward scored 13 points in the period, and the Jazz scored 37 points on 60 percent shooting. Utah scored 21 points in the final 3:44 of the third.
NOTES: Thunder G Reggie Jackson missed his second straight game with a mid-back sprain. ... Jazz G Alec Burks returned to action after missing the previous four games with a left ankle sprain. ... Utah missed its first seven shots. ... Oklahoma City won three of four against the Jazz this season. ... Utah, which has the worst record in the Western Conference, won the previous meeting 112-101.
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