The Thunder’s three young stars — and the organization’s future — made the big shots at the end, but two veterans inserted into the starting lineup also made key contributions to help Oklahoma City end an 11-game, 47-day home losing streak.
Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green combined for the Thunder’s final 15 points in a 91-83 win over Toronto on Friday night at the Ford Center.
Teammates pointed to two pivotal plays made by Nick Collison.
Oklahoma City was leading 83-81 when Durant missed a driving layup with 1:30 to play. Toronto star Chris Bosh grabbed the rebound, but Collison ripped it away, fell to the floor and kept the play alive. The second-chance possession set up Westbrook’s 15-footer, a basket that gave the Thunder breathing room.
"Those are the kind of plays people need to recognize, Nick getting on the floor to give us an extra possession,” Green said. "And that tip-in off my missed free throw was really big to keep momentum on our side.”
The other new starter was Desmond Mason, who broke out a new pair of shoes before the game. Mason scribbled "Play Hard” on one shoe, "All The Time” on the other shoe. He did just that, grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds and helping Oklahoma City limit Toronto to 36.4 percent shooting from the field.
"Playing good defense is huge, especially when you’re trying to get yourself back on track and get some wins,” Mason said. "We had a really good defensive effort that spearheaded our offense. It shows how important defense is.”