Thunder 100, Hawks 92By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Dec 19, 2012 10:10 PM EST
ATLANTA -- Kevin Durant scored a season-high 41 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 100-92 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night at Philips Arena. The Thunder earned their 12th consecutive win, the longest winning streak for the team since moving to Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook scored 27 points -- 21 in the first half -- and had 11 assists for the Thunder (21-4). Josh Smith led the Hawks (15-8) with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Jeff Teague added 19 points for Atlanta, which shot 38.3 percent. Hawks center Al Horford contributed 13 points and six rebounds. The Thunder led from the 1:03 mark in the first quarter. The Hawks, down as many 17 points and trailing by double digits for a large portion of the game, fought back to cut the deficit to 73-69 with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter before their rally sputtered. Durant and Westbrook scored all of Oklahoma City's points during a 27-11 run that pushed the advantage back to 90-80. NOTES: Hawks coach Larry Drew said before the game that he "played some guys probably too many minutes last night" in the overtime win over the Wizards, so he was going to have to rely on his bench Wednesday night. In the absence of Devin Harris, who left the Wizards game in the first half with a sore left foot and was not available against the Thunder, Drew said he expected rookie John Jenkins to play some minutes. "We always keep a little birdie on his shoulder, "Stay ready, stay ready," Drew said. He considered going to Jenkins last night but went with the experience of DeShawn Stevenson instead. ... Drew has not used Stevenson in back-to-back games because of his knees, but he was able to hold him to 13 minutes against the Wizards and thought he could do the same against the Thunder. ... Anthony Morrow, who missed two games with some inflammation in his lower back, warmed up and stretched it out before the game. He was cleared to play 20 minutes before tip-off. ... Thunder coach Scott Brooks laughed when he said he wasn't talking about his team coming into Atlanta on an 11-game winning streak. He's looking only at winning one game at a time. ... The Thunder began a stretch of 15 of their next 21 games on the road, which Brooks values as a bonding experience. When the team is at home, he said, guys don't really want to be spending any extra time talking to their coaches or to each other; they'd prefer to be with their families. ... Brooks says his players are becoming savvy veterans even though they're still young. Asked about the ongoing value of playoff experience, he said, "You can't get it until you get it. You can talk about it but you have to live it before you can understand the importance of every possession in a playoff game."
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