Thunder breaks rare 3-game skid
With All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant leading the way, the Oklahoma City Thunder can outscore any team in the NBA on any given...
OKLAHOMA CITY — With All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant leading the way, the Oklahoma City Thunder can outscore any team in the NBA on any given night.
That still isn't good enough for a team with the highest of aspirations.
Westbrook scored a season-high 37 points, Durant added 27 and Oklahoma City snapped a three-game losing streak Friday night with a 127-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves that did little to fix what was wrong during the skid.
"A baby, minor step" was how Westbrook described it.
"I think we could have (done) a better job defensively, but we got a win. That's all we needed this time after losing three games in a row," he said.
The Thunder avoided losing four in a row for the first time since April 2009, near the end of its first season in Oklahoma City, but was hardly better on defense after allowing 113.7 points per game during its longest losing streak of the season.
Instead, the Thunder relied on an offense that regained the NBA lead in scoring average while shooting 58 percent. It was the Thunder's second-best shooting performance of the season, behind only a 60.6 percent effort in a win at Brooklyn in December.
"That was good offensively. Offensively I don't think is our problem," said Westbrook, who had nine of Oklahoma City's 28 assists. "We've just got to find a way to continue to get stops."
Alexey Shved led Minnesota with 17 points.
Kevin Martin had 19 points off the bench for the Thunder, which went 9 for 14 from three-point range and hit all 22 of its free throws. Oklahoma City came in first in the league in foul shooting and second in three-point accuracy.
"We made a lot of shots and shot a good percentage," coach Scott Brooks said. "I'm not thrilled with our defense."
• Jarrett Jack had 30 points and 10 rebounds, David Lee added 25 points and 22 boards, and the host Golden State Warriors rallied past the San Antonio Spurs 107-101 in overtime to snap a 16-game losing streak in the series.
• Kobe Bryant scored 40 points, Dwight Howard had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and the host Los Angeles Lakers capped a trying week with a gritty 111-107 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, who have lost a season-worst seven straight.
• James Harden and Carlos Delfino each scored 22 points and the Houston Rockets tied their longest winning streak against any opponent by beating the host Brooklyn Nets for the 13th straight time, 106-96. The Rockets also won 13 straight against the Sonics-Thunder franchise (2007-09) and Minnesota (2007-11).
• Rudy Gay scored a season-high 32 points, DeMar DeRozan had 18, and the host Toronto Raptors handed the New York Knicks their season-worst fourth straight loss, 100-98.
• Vince Carter capped a 22-point performance with a three-pointer that gave Dallas the lead with 6.5 seconds left and the Mavericks held on to beat the host New Orleans Hornets 104-100 for their third straight victory.