Kevin Durant scored 27 of his 41 points in the second half and the Oklahoma City Thunder became the NBA’s first 30-game winner of the season with a 102-90 victory over the Suns on Monday night in Phoenix.
Russell Westbrook added 36 for the Thunder, but it was Durant who took over in his fourth 40-point game of the season, scoring 19 in the fourth quarter and falling 1 shy of the season-high 42 he scored two games earlier against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Durant and Westbrook accounted for 47 of Oklahoma City’s 51 second-half points.
The Thunder won their fourth straight, the last three on the road to improve their NBA-best record to 30-8. Durant scored 33 Sunday night in an 87-83 win at Portland.
Shannon Brown scored 21 for the Suns. Marcin Gortat had 19 points and 15 points, but was the unfortunate would-be defender on Durant’s spectacular dunk late in the game.
Down, 68-54, after Westbrook’s layup, the Suns finished the third quarter with a 14-4 run, cutting it to 72-68 on Michael Beasley’s 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left in the period. But the Suns never got any closer.
Durant opened the fourth quarter with a fastbreak layup, sank a 19-footer, then followed with a 3-pointer and the Thunder led, 79-72. Westbrook’s 3-pointer put Oklahoma City up, 87-77, with 4:49 to play, then Durant put on a final show.
He sank a 3-pointer, followed with a 19-footer, then scored on a layup. The spectacular finish came on Oklahoma City’s next possession when he drove the lane and soared over Gortat for the dunk. Gortat fouled him and Durant made the free throw to put the Thunder up, 97-81, with 2:23 to play.
Jazz 104, Heat 97 — Al Jefferson scored 23 points, Gordon Hayward added 22 — including a key jumper with 40 seconds remaining — and host Utah held on to beat Miami.
The Heat were down 21 points in the third quarter but fought back to pull within 2 behind a 32-point effort by LeBron James. However, James was called for goaltending and an offensive foul on back-to-back possessions late, then missed a 3-pointer with Miami down 6 with 2:19 left.
Wizards 120, Magic 91 — Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 11 rebounds, leading six players in double figures for host Washington in its rout of Orlando, the Wizards’ third straight win.
The Wizards were just 4-28 before their streak, but beat Oklahoma City, Atlanta, and now Orlando — all at home — to nearly double their win total. Washington leaves Tuesday on a five-game, eight-day road trip while the nation’s capital will be consumed by Inauguration ceremonies.
Bulls 97, Hawks 58 — Carlos Boozer scored 20 points, Luol Deng added 18, and Chicago held visiting Atlanta to a franchise-low 20 points in the first half.
Reserve forward Mike Scott scored 9 points as none of Atlanta’s starters reached double figures. Josh Smith and Kyle Korver also had 9 points.
The Bulls held the Hawks to 5 points in the second quarter and led, 48-20, at the break. Teague’s layup with 7.9 seconds left prevented the Hawks’ lowest-scoring total in franchise history.
Clippers 99, Grizzlies 73 — Reserves Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes each scored 16 points, and visiting Los Angeles easily routed Memphis even with Chris Paul missing his first game because of a bruised right kneecap.
The matchup between two of the best teams in the West wasn’t close much of the way. The Grizzlies were without their leading scorer Rudy Gay, who was excused to attend his grandmother’s funeral in Baltimore. Zach Randolph had 15 for Memphis, which lost its second straight.
Mavericks 113, Timberwolves 98 — Darren Collison led six players in double figures with 23 points and host Dallas matched its season high with a third straight win.
The Mavericks overcame an early spark from former Dallas guard J.J. Barea, who led the Timberwolves with 21 points.
Kings 124, Cavaliers 118 — DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and 14 rebounds and host Sacramento beat Cleveland to snap a four-game losing streak.
Reserve Dion Waiters scored a career-high 33 points for the Cavaliers.