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Kevin Durant powers Thunder past 76ers in OT

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: March 9, 2011
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PHILADELPHIA — Once again, the Thunder played much better defense late than early. Once again, no one on the team seemed to know why.

And once again, OKC won in overtime.

The Thunder overcame a five-point deficit in the final 36.9 seconds of regulation and went on to post a 110-105 victory over the surging Philadelphia 76ers before a crowd of 19,283 at the Wells Fargo Center.

It was the second overtime victory this week for the Thunder, which is now 7-1 in extra time this season.

"Down by five, then get lucky to win the game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said afterward. "I'm not happy with that (slow starts defensively), but I love the fact that as the game goes on, the competitive spirit rises with this group. That's been our season all along, but we need to get better starts defensively."

OKC got some clutch shooting from All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, plus a double-double off the bench from Nick Collison (13 points and 10 rebounds).

Durant forced overtime by draining a 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds left, then nearly won the game at the final buzzer in regulation from almost the exact same spot on the left wing.

"Coach drew up some great plays," Durant said. "I was able to get open and make a few shots."

Though Durant was superb offensively with 34 points, it was his 16 rebounds that kept the Thunder (40-23) within reach in the early going.

Westbrook had 27 points and 12 assists, but it was him taking a charging foul underneath the basket off a barreling Andre Iguodala with 1.9 seconds left in regulation that clinched no worse than overtime for OKC.

"He (Durant) and Westbrook are something special," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "Westbrook is a dynamite package. He is so strong and quick. Durant, just the reach on his shot … He made an incredible shot."

The Sixers (33-31) jumped out to a 15-4 lead and led 34-28 after the first quarter thanks primarily to 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.

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