The Oklahoma City Thunder eased to a 108-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday with Kevin Durant leading the way for the much-improved franchise with 33 points and 12 rebounds. The 21-year-old forward made 10-of-21 shots and nailed 12 free throws as the Thunder (9-7) recorded their ninth victory in two months faster than last season, when they finished a lowly 23-59. In an intriguing matchup of two prospects, Durant came out on top as the Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings struggled on 3-for-11 shooting for 12 points in 30 minutes.
Milwaukee trailed by just one point at half-time but went scoreless for more than six minutes at the start of the third to fall well behind and eventually drop their third straight game. The New Jersey Nets slipped to yet another loss, 109-96 to the Sacramento Kings. Devin Harris's 25 points proved futile for the Nets, who at 0-16 are one game away from matching the worst start to a season in the history of the NBA.
Ramon Sessions's 23 points were not enough for the Minnesota Timberwolves as they slumped to a 120-95 loss at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. It was the third straight win for the Western Conference leaders, with Jason Richardson contributing 22 points. The Boston Celtics continued their good form by seeing off the Toronto Raptors 116-103, thanks to 20 points from Ray Allen.
The Cleveland Cavaliers saw their three-game winning run come to an end with a 94-87 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, who in turn have won three on the bounce. A 50-point haul by Carmelo Anthony inspired the Denver Nuggets, who held off a late charge to beat the New York Knicks 128-125, their fourth win in succession. Tim Duncan scored 21 points to help lift the San Antonio Spurs to their third successive win, 92-84 against the Houston Rockets, while Marc Gasol had 19 points and 15 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies eased past the Portland Trail Blazers 106-96.
The Atlanta Hawks ended a two-game losing run with a 100-86 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers with Jamal Crawford scoring 24 points for the Hawks as Philadelphia slipped to their fifth consecutive defeat. The Los Angeles Clippers overturned a 54-47 half-time deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 104-96, the Dallas Mavericks eased past the Indiana Pacers 113-92 and the Washington Wizards posted a 94-84 win over the Miami Heat.
* With agencies