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Kevin Durant shines down the stretch

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: January 10, 2010 at 12:29 am •  Published: January 10, 2010

At some point during the Thunder’s two-day break between games against New Orleans on Wednesday and Indiana on Saturday, Kevin Durant made a promise to himself, a vow to forget about his poor fourth quarter against the Hornets but formulate a plan to be more productive in late-game situations.

Durant brought his new attitude to the Ford Center against Indiana, and his made-over mindset staved off a pesky Pacers team and secured a 108-102 win before a sold-out crowd of 18,203.

Durant scored 13 of his season-high tying 40 points in the fourth quarter. After Indiana cut an 18-point Thunder lead to one with 5:15 remaining, Durant scored eight of the Thunder’s next nine points. He made 4-of-5 shots, including one 3-pointer, and sunk all four attempts from the free-throw line.

Durant’s 15-foot stepback jumper over Pacers forward Brandon Rush gave the Thunder an eight-point lead with 51.3 seconds left to play, and a steal by James Harden and dunk by Russell Westbrook with 44.6 seconds remaining served as the dagger that put the Pacers down 10.

"He’s as good of an offensive player that there is in the league, doesn’t matter, Kobe, LeBron, he’s a great, great offensive player,” said Pacers coach Jim O’Brien. "He does it with seemingly little effort. It’s a pleasure to watch him play basketball.”

Against the Hornets, nothing came easy for Durant. He took just two shot attempts and scored just two points.

"Against the Hornets, he made three plays that were winning plays,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.


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