Kevin Durant scores 30 as Thunder tops Timberwolves
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, email@example.com •
Modified: December 9, 2010 at 11:16 pm •
Published: December 8, 2010
/articleid/3522067/1/pictures/1289618"> Minnesota Timberwolves guard Corey Brewer, right, strips the ball from Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Ibaka's eight, however, were the most since Calvin Booth recorded nine on Jan. 13, 2004.
â€œNot only did he get eight, but he probably altered five or six more,â€ Brooks said.
Durant chipped in by creating a cushion with his scoring, netting 11 fourth-quarter points before fouling out with 54.7 seconds remaining. When Love nailed a pair of free throws to pull the Wolves within two, Durant drilled a 17-footer. And when Beasley, Durant's childhood friend and teammate, canned a deep 3-pointer to cut the margin to 104-103 with 1:03 remaining, Durant answered right back with a 3 to bump the lead back to four.
And once again, the Thunder closed out an opponent at the foul line, sinking all nine of its fourth-quarter free throw attempts while the Wolves missed seven of 13 in the final period. OKC made 25 of 27 foul shots for the game to push its NBA-record pace to 85.7 percent.
Durant finished with a game-high 30 points along with 11 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half. Nick Collison was an unsung hero for his interior defense. And James Harden had six assists off the bench to help the Thunder finish with 27 one game after dishing out only 13.
â€œIt was one of those games that you can be proud of,â€ Brooks said. â€œIt was a total team effort. Everybody chipped in and helped win the game.â€
After losing three of its past four on the road, the Thunder improved to 8-4 away from home and moved to 12-1 in games decided by eight points or less.
Durant pointed to those tough times of two seasons ago as reason for the Thunder's growing toughness today.
â€œWe've been through a lot,â€ Durant said, â€œand we've learned a lot during those times.â€