The Oklahoma City Thunder got caught up in Sacramento's fast-paced style of play and just barely escaped with a victory.
Kevin Durant scored 39 points - his fourth-straight game with 30
or more - as the Thunder held off the Sacramento Kings for a
116-113 victory Sunday night after blowing a 19-point
"They do a great job of really attacking the basket," Thunder
coach Scott Brooks said. "We didn't do a good job in the second
half of containing the ball, containing the dribble. They took
advantage of our defense in the second half."
Beno Udrich finished with 29 points, and John Salmons and Kevin
Martin had 23 each for the Kings, who finished the night shooting
55 percent from the field and 67 percent (12-of-18) from 3-point
The second of two straight 3-pointers by Salmons got the Kings,
who beat the Thunder in overtime last week, within two at 115-113
with 36.9 seconds left. Nick Collison was fouled after chasing down
a missed shot by Durant, but he missed both free throws with 12.9
seconds to play.
Francisco Garcia got an open look at a 3-pointer from the top of
the key, but missed badly and Jeff Green rebounded and was fouled
with 3.3 seconds left. He made the first free throw and missed the
second, but by the time Sacramento corralled the loose ball, only
0.3 seconds remained.
While trying to inbound, Martin called a timeout the Kings
didn't have - a technical foul and loss of possession. Durant
missed a free throw, but then the Thunder inbounded to end the
"I told Garcia he's the best shooter on our team, especially
from the 3-point line," Udrich said. "You know, missing that shot
just happens. He might miss or make it this game or next game, but
that's just how it goes."
The Kings made 15 of their 21 field-goal tries during the third
quarter to get back into it, then scored the first five points of
the fourth to take their first lead since an 11-10 advantage early
in the first half. It was back and forth the rest of the way.
Udrich brought the Kings back in the third quarter, making all
six of his field goals and scoring 15 points as Sacramento cut a
13-point halftime deficit to two. Durant almost single-handedly
kept the Kings at bay, scoring 14 of Oklahoma City's final 16
points in the period.
"They made a big run in the third quarter to get back in it,"
Durant said. "I thought we got too relaxed at times. They made
some tough, contested shots, but we came back with some key baskets
Durant had scored 10 in the first quarter on 5-of-5 shooting.
The Thunder shot 62.5 percent and, whether on fast breaks or in the
halfcourt, consistently got the ball to the basket and outscored
the Kings 26-10 in the paint.
Garcia came off the bench for Sacramento and scored eight
straight points in the second quarter to keep Oklahoma City from
breaking away. The Thunder led by as many as 19 twice, but Garcia's
fadeaway from the right base line at the halftime buzzer capped an
8-2 run that made it a 13-point spread.
Sacramento scored on its first two possessions of the second
half to quickly cut the deficit to 59-50, prompting Thunder coach
Scott Brooks to call a timeout, but it did little to slow the
Durant has scored 30 or more in five of the past six games.
Kings G Bobby Jackson missed the game due to the birth of his