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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC Thunder survives without Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant scores 41 points as Thunder takes 3-0 lead in series.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 27, 2013

/articleid/3804322/1/pictures/2038503">Photo - Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) reacts next to Houston's Carlos Delfino (10) during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, Sat., April 27, 2013. Oklahoma City 104-101. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) reacts next to Houston's Carlos Delfino (10) during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, Sat., April 27, 2013. Oklahoma City 104-101. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

“But tonight's game was a great game. We wanted to come in here and get this win.”

Game 4 is Monday night in the Rockets' Toyota Center.

Durant had 17 points in the first quarter alone and finished with 41. But he and the Thunder cooled in the second half, and Houston climbed all the way back to take two momentary leads.

But the Thunder responded each time. Serge Ibaka hit a fallaway jumper to restore the lead to the Thunder, 95-94 with 3:13 left, then Durant nailed the 3-pointer.

Playing with amazing energy in Westbrook's absence, the Thunder zoomed to a 39-19 first-quarter lead and a 48-22 lead 2½ minutes into the second quarter.

But the Rockets slowly climbed back into the game.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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