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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

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Kevin Durant was making his Brooklyn debut.

Russell Westbrook was going head-to-head with Deron Williams in a thrilling matchup of All-Star point guards.

And yet it was Thabo Sefolosha who stepped up on this big stage and saved the day, providing the most pivotal play of the night to help the Thunder secure a 117-111 win against the Nets on Tuesday night in a wildly entertaining affair inside the new Barclays Center.

Sefolosha did some of everything throughout the night. He scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished one assist and blocked one shot. But it was his final rebound that lifted the Thunder to its sixth straight win and 14th in the past 16 games.

The Nets, playing without starting center Brook Lopez and energizer Reggie Evans, had fought their way back from a 16-point, third-quarter deficit to pull within two in the final three minutes. Oklahoma City's offense, which had virtually been unstoppable all night, had hit a snag in the final six minutes.

The Thunder led by four with 54 seconds remaining and needed a bucket to put Brooklyn away.

Westbrook missed a 3.

But Sefolosha came from the left corner, scooped up the ricochet and scored a layup to push the lead to six.

Ballgame.

“I saw him shoot, and basically the ball bounced on the rim and came toward me,” Sefolosha said. “So I just had to step in and get the rebound.”

It was the second of only two offensive rebounds the Thunder snagged all night. Brooklyn hauled in 16.

“It was key,” said Westbrook, who scored 25 points with nine assists. “I should have made the shot, for one. But Thabo's been great all year just hustling and he did a good job of getting the rebound.”

The Thunder moved to 15-4 and can now look forward to a five-game home stand, which starts Friday against the rival Los Angeles Lakers.

On Tuesday night, though, the Thunder continued its streak with a sizzling performance that wowed a building with hundreds of locals who showed up rooting for Oklahoma City. The Thunder shot a season-high 60.6 percent and got a team-high 32 points from Durant.

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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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