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Kevin Durant does it again as Thunder edges Grizzlies

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, Published: December 28, 2011
Brooks was most pleased with the versatility Durant displayed, particularly his passing. Durant finished with three assists against two turnovers, continuing a promising trend that has seen Durant record more assists than turnovers in each of the Thunder’s first three games.

It could be the start of something special in a much-needed area for a player who had more turnovers than assists in each of his first four seasons.

“We’ve challenged Kevin (in) starting the year just continuing to get better, not only get better in ways that he scores but also ways that he can help his teammates score,” Brooks said. “The way he’s passing the ball, he’s passing right on time and he’s passing right on target. I think everybody’s enjoying that part of his improvement.”

Durant’s final assist was the biggest of the night. After James Harden made an entry pass into Durant on the right high post, Durant read the defense and fired a pass back out to a flaring Harden at the top of the key. Harden then drilled a 3-pointer to cap a 14-1 run that turned a 76-75 deficit into an 89-77 advantage with 5:25 left to play.

“It was all basketball instincts,” said Harden after scoring 20 points. “It was something we’ve learned over these last couple of years.”

The win bumped the Thunder to 3-0, the first time the franchise has started a season with three straight wins since relocating to Oklahoma City.

“It feels good,” said Daequan Cook, who finished with nine points off the bench. “Especially coming on the road and getting tough wins in teams’ home openers. Now we get to go back home and play in front of our fans again. We’re looking forward to it.”