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Kevin Durant ties career high in Thunder's OT win over Timberwolves

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, Modified: January 26, 2011 at 11:42 pm •  Published: January 26, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Durant couldn't forget his fourth-quarter performance in New Orleans.

So he took out his frustrations on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Durant tied a career-high with 47 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds to lead his Oklahoma City Thunder to a 118-117 overtime win over the Wolves on Wednesday night at Target Center.

In the Thunder's 91-89 loss against the Hornets on Monday, Durant failed to score in the fourth quarter, missing all five of his shot attempts. Against the Wolves, Durant had 16 points in the fourth quarter, making six of nine shots. And the Thunder needed each one of them, as 12 of Durant's points in the final period of regulation either tied the game or put the Thunder up one in a thriller that saw 21 ties and 19 lead changes.

“Coming into this game, that's something I tried to put an emphasis ... trying to help my team in the fourth a little better and getting better shots,” said Durant, whose point total matched L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin for an NBA season high while also marking the third time this season he has scored at least 40 points.

Durant began to heat up in the third quarter.

After scoring just 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting in the first half, Durant netted 16 points on 4-for-7 shooting in the third period. He scored in transition and on pull-ups. He got to the free throw line and got into a rhythm from the 3-point line. Durant scored 12 of the Thunder's final 14 points in the third quarter, helping to turn a four-point deficit into a four-point advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Durant capped his scoring flurry with a 29-footer at the quarter buzzer, a low-percentage shot that looked pure the moment it left his hands.

Thunder guard Royal Ivey was so impressed, he said after the game that the morning headlines should read “video game.”

“I hope I don't ever take it for granted because he's pretty impressive,” said Nick Collison. “To be able to kind of carry us like that, we needed every one of those.”

Durant found success by reverting to an old style. Rather than spend the night putting the ball in Durant's hands and allowing him to initiate the offense — a strategy that has yet to yield many positive results — Thunder coach Scott Brooks reverted to running Durant off screens. And there wasn't a thing the Wolves could do about it, as only a few inches allowed Durant to catch and shoot with ease.

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