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Thabo Sefolosha saves the day as Thunder beats Nets

Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Russell Westbrook had 25 points and nine assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Brooklyn Nets 117-111 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight victory.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 4, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) passes as Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams (8) defends in the first half of their NBA basketball game at Barclays Center, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) ORG XMIT: NYKW104
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) passes as Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams (8) defends in the first half of their NBA basketball game at Barclays Center, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) ORG XMIT: NYKW104

But the first quarter belonged to Westbrook and Williams, as each point guard attempted to one-up the other, making the matchup as good as expected.

Williams scored 12 in the period, making 4-of-6 shots, including two incredibly difficult and contested 3-pointers. Westbrook, meanwhile, worked his way to the rim, making four of his five shots in the quarter from six feet and in.

Despite their theatrics, Westbrook and Williams canceled each other out in the quarter and the Thunder led by just three entering the second period.

Oklahoma City pulled away midway through the second quarter, using a 16-6 run to turn a 45-42 lead into a 13-point margin at halftime. Defense was the catalyst, as the Thunder held the Nets to 3-for-12 shooting while forcing two turnovers in those final six minutes.

But the offense was on point, too. So much so that the Thunder went into the locker room shooting 65.7 percent, the best percentage Oklahoma City has shot in a first half since March 25 against Miami. The Thunder made six of nine shots in the final six minutes of the second period, five of the makes coming off assists.

The Thunder led by as many as 16 in the third quarter, taking a 73-57 lead with 8:27 left in the period. Williams, however, wouldn't let his team get blown out at home, where the Nets were 7-1 coming into the game and seeking their best start since 2002-03. Williams scored 13 points in the period, 10 coming after OKC built its 16-point lead. His aggressiveness sparked a Nets rally that trimmed the Thunder's lead to two late in the quarter.

Still, OKC held on to take a four-point lead into the final frame. The Thunder's 90 points through three quarters were one shy of the average Brooklyn had yielded on the year.

“We hung on,” Brooks said. “You've got to give them credit. They were missing two of their better players, but we played well enough to win.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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