x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Durant loses 30-point streak because Thunder beat Nets too easily

Kevin Durant lost his streak of 12 games with at least 30 points on Friday because Oklahoma City were too good, building a lead so large Durant was allowed to rest the entire fourth quarter after scoring 26 in a 120-95 win over Brooklyn.

Kevin Durant had gone 12 straight games with at least 30 points before scoring 26 against Brooklyn on Friday. Marc Serota / Getty Images / AFP
Kevin Durant had gone 12 straight games with at least 30 points before scoring 26 against Brooklyn on Friday. Marc Serota / Getty Images / AFP

NEW YORK // Finally, somebody stopped Kevin Durant: his coach.

Not that Durant cared. The only streak he cares about is still intact.

Durant’s 30-point run ended at 12 games when he scored 26 in just 30 minutes, but the Oklahoma City Thunder won their 10th in a row with a 120-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.

“That’s the most important streak,” Durant said.

Serge Ibaka made all 12 shots and added 25 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who were so good that Durant sat the entire fourth quarter, the only way to slow him down right now.

Durant came out for good with 1:15 left in the third. Coach Scott Brooks didn’t bother asking the NBA’s leading scorer if he wanted to keep playing to extend the streak, saying he knew what the answer would be.

“If he cared about the streak, he should’ve never missed the two shots. That’s on him. Can’t blame it on me,” Brooks said.

Durant finished 10-of-12 from the field, though his scoring average during his sensational January dropped from 36.6 to 35.9. He had been streaking toward Tracy McGrady, who had the last longer streak when he scored 30 in 14 in a row in 2003.

“The streak was good while it lasted, but that’s the least of my concerns,” Durant said. “It’s easy for me to try to force it to keep the streak alive, but we needed this win because they beat us last time.”

Reggie Jackson and Thabo Sefolosha scored 14 for the Thunder, on their longest winning streak since a 12-game run early in the 2012/13 season. They dominated the final three quarters in their 112-95 victory at Miami and picked up right where they left off in this one before a sellout crowd of 17,732 that included former US President Bill Clinton.

They call this a landslide in his field.

Oklahoma City shot 63.6 percent (49-of-77), highest in the league this season, and outrebounded Brooklyn 41-17. The Nets’ rebound total was the lowest in NBA history.

Shaun Livingston scored 16 points while drawing the impossible assignment of defending Durant for the Nets, who dropped their final two games to finish 10-3 in January.

“I mean, man, he’s shooting the ball, it’s tough,” Livingston said. “It’s one of those where you’ve got to tip your hat to him.”

Oklahoma City closed the first quarter with the final 13 points, eight from Ibaka and the rest from Durant, for a 30-16 lead. An 11-0 spurt in the second – with just two points from Durant and Ibaka – extended it to 45-24, and one more surge late in the period put it away.

The Nets started the month by holding Durant to 24 points while rallying from 16 down in a 95-93 victory at Oklahoma City, but Brooklyn were never in this game.

“I said it before the game. Everybody is talking about Durant scoring 30 points, but it’s the rest of the guys that are playing at a high level,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “If you look at Ibaka, he’s 12 for 12. So again, it goes back to what I said before the game, it’s just not all Durant. He has guys on his team that have stepped up and been playing at a high level.”

Durant had a jumper and three-pointer around Jackson’s three-point play to extend it to 28, and Durant made a turnaround jumper and another three-pointer on consecutive possessions late in the half for a 61-30 cushion. Ibaka capped his perfect half with a follow dunk and Oklahoma City led 63-35 at the break.

But Durant got only three shots in the second half, making two on alley-oops, before taking a seat for good to get a little extra rest before returning to his hometown Saturday to face Washington.

The Nets played without versatile forward Andrei Kirilenko, who would’ve been one of their best hopes of defending Durant, because of a strained right calf. Backup centre Andray Blatche left in the second half with a bruised left hip.

Deron Williams had 14 points off the bench for the Nets and rookie Mason Plumlee scored 13. Kevin Garnett missed all four shots and was scoreless with one rebound in 12 minutes.


Grizzlies 94, Timberwolves 90

Memphis Forward Zach Randolph scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, including a twisting shot from the paint with 2:27 left that gave the Grizzlies (25-20) the lead in a 94-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Guard Courtney Lee scored 16 points, Mike Conley had 12 points and guard Tayshaun Prince added 11, including a three-pointer with 59.6 seconds left that put the Grizzlies up by six.

Forward Kevin Love scored 22 of his 28 points in the second half, including 18 points in the third quarter, for the Timberwolves (23-23).

Hawks 125, 76ers 99

Veteran forward Elton Brand had a season-high 18 points against his former team as the Atlanta Hawks rolled to a 125-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 34-year-old Brand, in his 15th season, shot 8-for-12 off the Atlanta bench to lead seven players in double figures.

Another reserve, forward Mike Scott, also had 18 for the Hawks (24-21), with 16 of those coming in the second quarter.

Forward Thaddeus Young had 29 points, one shy of his season high, to pace the Sixers (15-32).

Magic 113, Bucks 102

Veteran guard Arron Afflalo scored 21 points in 30 minutes as the Orlando Magic (13-35) breezed to an easy 113-102 victory over the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.

It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Bucks (8-38) and the 14th loss in their last 15 games.

Mavericks 107, Kings 103

The hard-luck and short-handed Sacramento Kings could not hold onto a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and lost 107-103 to the Dallas Mavericks (27-21).

Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs’ comeback with 34 points, 12 in the decisive final period.

He spoiled Kings (15-31) forward Rudy Gay’s effort that included 35 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Raptors 100, Nuggets 90

Guard DeMar DeRozan returned to the lineup to score 19 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Denver Nuggets 100-90.

Forward Terrence Ross had 18 points for the Raptors (25-21), who won for the first time in 11 years in Denver.

Centre JJ Hickson had 18 points and 13 rebounds and guard Evan Fournier scored 18 points for the Nuggets (22-23).

Warriors 95, Jazz 90

Golden State overcame a seven-point halftime deficit as Stephen Curry scored 44 points on 14-of-26 shooting, including 8-of-13 from three.

Centre Andrew Bogut added 16 points and 17 rebounds as the Warriors (29-19) avoided a loss to to the lowly Jazz (16-30).

Alec Burks came off the bench for Utah to score 26 points and Turkish centre Enes Kanter had 15 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

Bobcats 110, Lakers 100

Al Jefferson had 40 points, 18 rebounds, four assists and three steals in a dominating performance and Gerald Henderson added another 20 as Charlotte cruised past Los Angeles.

Guard Ramon Sessions distributed 13 assists for the Bobcats (21-27) while Pau Gasol scored 24 to lead the Lakers (16-31). For Los Angeles, it was the sixth straight loss as they ended January with a 3-12 record. They’re 3-18 in their last 21 games.