Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

December 20, 2012

Durant's 41 sends Thunder to win over Hawks

ATLANTA — Oklahoma City's biggest stars displayed a unique version of balanced scoring against Atlanta: Russell Westbrook led the Thunder in the first half and Kevin Durant dominated the Hawks over the final two quarters.

Durant set a season high with 41 points and Oklahoma City held off Atlanta 100-92 on Wednesday night for its 12th straight win.

Westbrook had 27 points — 21 in the first half — and 11 assists. Durant scored 28 points in the second half, including 18 in the fourth, and also had 13 rebounds.

No other Oklahoma City player scored in double figures.

"There's going to be nights where one has the hot hand and there's going to be other nights the other does," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

Both top scorers were hot against the Hawks. Durant made six of nine shots in the final period, including three 3-pointers, and the Hawks couldn't find a way to slow the 6-foot-9 forward.

"We double-teamed him, we zoned him," said Hawks coach Larry Drew. "He still made shots. You can't stop him when he's hot like that."

Durant said Westbrook's strong first half helped open more opportunities for him after the break.

"He was aggressive and they were giving him jump shots," Durant said. "We just played off of that. He was very good and it opened up for me in the second half."

Durant acknowledged he launched some "questionable" shots. "But my teammates wanted me to do it," he said.

Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 19 points, Josh Smith had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Al Horford and Lou Williams scored 13 apiece.

Durant was especially strong after Atlanta cut a 16-point deficit midway through the third quarter to 73-69.

Durant slowed Atlanta's comeback attempt when he dominated a sequence on both ends of the floor, blocking a shot by Smith before throwing down a jam. Smith drew a foul and Durant sank the free throw to push the lead to 85-75.

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