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Thunder 101, Hawks 92

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- The Oklahoma City Thunder own the third best record in the Western Conference. The Atlanta Hawks are third in the Eastern Conference. But the perception of these teams couldn't be much different.

Oklahoma City pulled away from the Hawks in the second half en route to a 101-92 victory Tuesday at the Philips Arena.

The Thunder (16-4) are now winners of three in a row, including an impressive 118-94 rout over the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers on Sunday, and remain a top-tier contender in the Western Conference.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant led all scorers with 30 points. His breakaway dunk off a feed from guard Russell Westbrook capped a 13-0 Oklahoma City run, after the Hawks had closed to within three, 78-75, with 10:16 to play.

Down 10 midway through the fourth quarter, Hawks guard Shelvin Mack and forward Paul Millsap fueled Atlanta's last charge. Mack's second corner 3-pointer of the fourth quarter cut the Oklahoma City lead to 93-89 with 3:28 to play. But Westbrook would hit an up-and-under reverse layup, and Durant would seal the win at the free-throw line.

Behind Durant and backup point guard Reggie Jackson, the Thunder threatened to pull away in the third quarter. The lead ballooned to 15, but Hawks point guard Jeff Teague would keep his team in the game. Teague has 13 of his 17 points in the third quarter. Jackson hit two difficult shots late in the third quarter, including a running pull-up jumper at the buzzer that gave the Thunder a 76-68 leading heading into the fourth quarter.

Millsap finished with 23 points to lead the Hawks (11-11), whose up-and-down season under new coach Mike Budenholzer continues.

Hawks guard Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer from the left wing early in the third quarter to extend his NBA record streak to 91 games with at least one made 3-pointer.

The Hawks held the Thunder to zero fast-break points in the first quarter and did a good job of contesting Durant and Westbrook around the rim. But Atlanta got sloppy late in the second quarter, turning the ball over on bad decisions in the paint, which led to Thunder run-outs. A Durant breakaway dunk off a forward DeMarre Carroll turnover extended Oklahoma City lead to seven. The Thunder took a 48-39 lead into halftime.

Atlanta turned it over six times in the second quarter, did not score in the final two minutes of the half and shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the first two quarters.

NOTES: Oklahoma City rookie F Andre Roberson was moved into the starting lineup in place of G Thabo Sefolsha, who sat out with a knee sprain. ... The Hawks entered Tuesday's game having scored 100 points in four consecutive games. ... Atlanta's first-round draft pick, C Lucas Nogueira, chose to suspend his contract with his Spanish League team to address issues with his knees. ... The Hawks scored 37 points in the first quarter of Friday's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Atlanta scored 39 in the first half against Oklahoma City. ... The Hawks will look to rebound Friday, when theWashington Wizards visit. ... Oklahoma City heads to Memphis on Wednesday to complete a three-game-in-four-night stretch.
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