Kevin Durant scores 48 points in OKC Thunder's win in Minnesota

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY Published: January 4, 2014
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— Kevin Durant was down on himself, displeased with how he had performed in the first half.

He had missed too many shots for his liking and admittedly allowed his uncharacteristic inefficiency to negatively affect his attitude.

He began hanging his head.

But thanks to some much-needed encouragement from teammates who refused to allow his sulking to spill over into the second half, Durant came out of the halftime locker room and strung together the best 24 minutes of his career.

And Minnesota never knew what hit it.

Durant scored 32 of his game- and season-high 48 points in the second half to lift the Thunder to a thrilling 115-111 come-from-behind victory on Saturday night at Target Center.

He hit the go-ahead bucket, a gorgeous step-back jumper over Wolves forward Dante Cunningham, with four seconds remaining and put the game out of reach with a pair of clutch free throws with 1.8 seconds left to play.

It capped a 23-point fourth quarter by Durant, a record for individual points scored in any quarter in the franchise's Oklahoma City era. Durant had previously posted 22 points in a quarter against Miami on Feb. 14, 2013.

Durant erupted for 32 points in the second half, the most he's ever scored in the final 24 minutes.

After scoring 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting in the first half, Durant drained 11 of 16 field goals in the second half.

So much for not being able to turn it on, a claim Durant made after appearing to dial it up a notch in the Houston game.

“I feel like my switch is always on,” Durant said. “I may not be making shots, but my intensity level and my aggressiveness is always on. Tonight, it happened to go in for me a little bit. I just stuck with it. I was hanging my head a little bit in the first half and my teammates got on me about it. So I just wanted to keep my head high no matter what and stay aggressive and I was able to hit a few.”

Durant's performance came on the heels of two consecutive disappointing finishes against Portland on New Year's Eve and Brooklyn on Thursday night. He scored just five points on 2-for-8 shooting in a combined twenty minutes in those two contests. The Thunder lost both, blowing 16-point leads in each on its home floor.

But on Saturday night, Durant was back to being special.

“That's the Kevin I know,” said Reggie Jackson. “That's the Kevin I've seen back in college and I've watched. One of the most dangerous scorers. When he gets it in his mind he's going to score, there's not anybody in this league that can stop him.”

The Thunder trailed 92-79 with 10:55 to play when Durant took over.