Emotional Kevin Durant hits for 41 points
Oklahoma City wins using heart and passion
The Associated Press
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 the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Hawks 111-109 for its 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 left that put the Thunder ahead for the first time since the opening two minutes. Paul Millsap tied it for Atlanta before Durant knocked down the decisive 12-footer.
“Coach just drew it out for me and I had to make a play,” Durant said. “It was an emotional game. It was up and down the whole game. 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.”
Millsap scored 23 points to lead the Hawks, who managed only one basket and two points in the final 3:50.
Oklahoma City is 6-0 at home this season when trailing going into the fourth quarter.
“I think that’s a direct result from the competitive spirit we have,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
Durant’s 11-game streak of 30 or more points is the longest in the NBA since Tracy McGrady did it in 14 consecutive games in 2003.
Durant had another efficient outing, shooting 15 of 25 from the field and 5 for 7 from three-point range. During his streak, he has scored 40 or more five times, including a 54-point outing against Golden State.
• Patrick Patterson stole Deron Williams’ inbounds pass and made the go-ahead jumper with six seconds left, and the Raptors stopped a five-game winning streak by the Nets for the second time this month with a 104-103 victory in New York that was witnessed by several Seattle Seahawks. Kyle Lowry finished with 31 points and seven assists for the Raptors, who moved 2½ games ahead of the Nets for the Atlantic Division lead. Terrence Ross, the Washington Husky who tied a franchise record with 51 points Saturday, had a quiet 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting.
• Jamal Crawford, out of Rainier Beach High in Seattle, scored 25 and the Clippers ended their seven-game road trip with a 114-86 victory over the Bucks.
• Kevin Love scored 31 points to lead the Timberwolves over the Bulls 95-86. Former Gonzaga star Ronny Turiaf added 14 points off the bench for the Timberwolves.
• Derrick Favors had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Bremerton’s Marvin Williams added 16 points and 11 rebounds to power the Jazz past the host Kings 106-99. Sacramento is without frontcourt starters DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) and Rudy Gay (Achilles).
• Bucks center Larry Sanders and guard O.J. Mayo didn’t play because of illness.