James Harden, traded from the Thunder to the Rockets just before the season, scored 36 points but it wasn’t enough.
Durant and Russell Westbrook scored 29 points each, although Durant was dormant offensively for long stretches of time.
He scored 15 in the first quarter and had 21 at half.
The game was similar to the Rockets’ 122-119 win over the Thunder on Feb. 20 in Houston, where the Thunder led by 14 with about seven minutes left before letting the game slip away.
This time, though, Durant took control.
His only points of the fourth were on the late 3-pointer and a last-second free throw.
“Kevin’s a tremendous scorer,” Harden said. “We just tried to play good defense on him and we tried to make him make some tough passes and make somebody else beat us and Thabo made a big three.
“Those were tough two plays and a tough two buckets.”
Earlier, Westbrook and Houston’s Patrick Beverley exchanged words after Beverley attempted a steal midway through the second quarter.
The confrontation seemed to fuel Westbrook, who had an assist, steal and a bucket in the next 30 seconds.
Westbrook also fueled a 13-0 run, scoring seven in the stretch that sent the Thunder to a nine-point lead in the third quarter.