The Woodward News

Sports

December 9, 2012

Thunder offense too much for Pacers' D, 104-93

Woodward, Okla. —

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 27 points, Kevin Martin added 24 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Indiana Pacers 104-93 on Sunday night for their eighth straight win.

A matchup of the NBA's highest-scoring offense and the league's stingiest defense went the Thunder's way as they eclipsed 100 points for the 12th straight game.

Of course, Oklahoma City boasts the NBA's second-best defense to go with all that offensive prowess.

Russell Westbrook added 21 points and came up with a big block against 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert — 11 inches taller — during a late 8-0 burst by the Thunder that put it away after the Pacers had pulled within three.

David West led the way with 21 points for Indiana, which had all five starters score in double figures.

The Pacers trailed by 10 after three quarters but chipped away until pulling to 94-91 on Paul George's 3-pointer from the right wing with 5:26 to play. Durant found Serge Ibaka open underneath for a layup on the other end, and the Thunder scored eight straight points to regain control.

After his block against Hibbert under the basket, Westbrook hit a jumper from the right wing, came up with a steal and then nailed another jumper from the left side for a 102-91 advantage with 2:59 left.

The Thunder were just the fifth team to top 100 points this season against Indiana, which had been allowing just 91.2 points per game. The Pacers are 1-4 in those games.

The league's worst shooting team at 41.5 percent from the field, Indiana was connecting on 59 percent midway through the third quarter before a 1-for-13 dry spell allowed Oklahoma City to move ahead to stay.

Ibaka had two straight putbacks and later added a jumper as the Thunder took advantage with a 17-3 run, taking an 82-72 lead after Nick Collison's free throw with 46 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Thunder average 106.2 points but also are right behind Indiana in allowing opponents to shoot 42.4 percent from the field. That combination has made the defending Western Conference champions hard to beat again this season.

George ended up with 17 points, George Hill scored 15 and Lance Stephenson and Hibbert chipped in 10 apiece for the Pacers. After the hot start, Indiana finished with 46 percent shooting from the field.

Oklahoma City outrebounded the Pacers — the league's top rebounding team — 40-34 and made 14 more free throws in 17 more attempts.

Durant started out 4 for 17 from the field but hit five of six shots during a key stretch with Indiana trying to rally.

Martin came off the bench and scored all but one point during a 10-2 run that put Oklahoma City up 25-22 after the first quarter. The Thunder stretched it to 45-32 after Martin and Westbrook connected on back-to-back 3-pointers with 5:49 left before halftime.

Martin had already scored 20 points by then, making five of his first six field-goal attempts and seven of eight from the foul line.

George sparked a 13-0 response by the Pacers to tie it up, hitting his own 3-pointer from the right wing. Stephenson had a three-point play during the spurt, and also hit the free throw following Westbrook's technical foul for reacting dramatically to what he thought should have been a foul against Indiana.

Westbrook made up for it, though, earning three free throws by sneaking his foot between West's feet on his 3-point follow-through and tripping him to draw a foul against West. After West argued vehemently, Westbrook knocked down all three foul shots to help the Thunder hold a 57-56 edge at halftime.

NOTES: The Pacers became the first opponent to outscore the Thunder during the second quarter in seven games. Oklahoma City held a 70-point edge in the period during the span. ... Hibbert blocked at least two shots for the 15th straight game. He had two. ... Prior to the game, Oklahoma City recalled reserve point guard Reggie Jackson from its NBA development league affiliate in Tulsa. Jackson had played only one game on his assignment with the 66ers. Jeremy Lamb and Daniel Orton, who were also sent down Friday, remain with Tulsa.

 

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