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Thunder 104, Pacers 93

The SportsXchange

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Martin combined for 72 points to lead Oklahoma City to a 104-93 win over Indiana Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The win is the eighth in a row for the Thunder (17-4) and the 12th consecutive contest it has topped the century mark. But it took a strong fourth quarter for them to keep both streaks alive.

The Pacers entered the night last in the NBA in scoring at only 90.7 points per game. With Danny Granger still injured, they have only a few options they can turn to for consistent scoring.

However, Indiana has hung its hat on its defense this year. It's first in fewest points allowed. Because of that, coach Frank Vogel liked his team's chances of at least slowing down the league's highest scoring team.

The plan worked for the Pacers until Durant decided to take over. With Paul George guarding him, the NBA's second-leading scorer forced his will on the game. He scored 10 points in the fourth to open up the lead.

But it was Westbrook who got the Oklahoma City fans on their feet when he blocked a Roy Hibbert dunk attempt that caused Hibbert to fall to the ground. Westbrook then hit three consecutive jumpers in Hibbert's face to put the game away.

David West paced Indy with 21 points and nine rebounds. George added 17 points and eight rebounds.

Durant led all scorers with 27 points on only 9-for-24 shooting. But he racked up eight rebounds and four assists. Westbrook added 21 points, and Martin came off the bench to chip in 24.

The Thunder trailed the Pacers for much of the first quarter as West had his way on the front line. But Oklahoma City's bench came in and turned a six-point deficit into a 25-22 lead by the end of the period.

Martin had a quiet game Friday against the Lakers, but he came out firing against the defensive-minded Pacers. He posted 22 points in 14 minutes of action on 6-for-7 shooting in the first half.

However, Indiana chipped away at Oklahoma City's 10-point lead in the second quarter and got the deficit down to 57-56 at the half.

NOTES: Indiana has struggled to close out games this season. After falling to the Denver Nuggets on Friday, the Pacers had lost six games in which they led or were within two points of their opponent in the fourth quarter. Vogel attributes it to the life cycle of a young team. "There is enough immature mistakes that they allow teams to stay in it and hang around," Vogel said. "They've got enough competitive spirit that when they are down, they know they are not out. When you are a .500 ballclub, you are going to be in a lot of close games." ... Entering Sunday's game, the Thunder was averaging a league-best 106.2 points while shooting 49.2 percent from the field, 42.6 percent from 3-point range and 83.7 percent from the free-throw line. No team has ever finished a season shooting that effectively in all three categories. ... the Thunder assigned guard Reggie Jackson to the Tulsa 66ers in the D-League on Saturday. In a game that night, he finished with 20 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. Jackson was recalled back to Oklahoma City on Sunday in time to be in uniform against the Pacers. Jackson came into the season battling Eric Maynor for the backup point guard position. The second-year player had appeared in 10 games for Oklahoma City this season, averaging 1.8 points and 1.0 rebound in 5.6 minutes.
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