Thunder 109, 76ers 85By Aaron Colen, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Fri, Jan 4, 2013 10:30 PM EST
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Thunder avoided consecutive home losses by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 109-85 on Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. With the win, the Thunder improved to 25-7 this season, while the Sixers dropped to 15-19. For Philadelphia, it was the seventh game of an eight-game road trip that began in Brooklyn against the Nets on Dec. 23. The Sixers have gone 3-4 so far on the trip. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant led the way offensively for the Thunder. Westbrook was the game's leading scorer with 27 points, and Durant added 26. Nick Young had 21 points to lead the Sixers, hitting 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Jrue Holiday had 15 points and nine assists. The Thunder led by one point after the first quarter, 22-21. Westbrook scored 10 points in the quarter. For Philadelphia, Spencer Hawes, Holiday, Lavoy Allen and Thaddeus Young each had four points in the first quarter. The Sixers were only 1-for-7 from 3-point range, and Oklahoma City was 2-for-3 in the opening period. The Sixers led for a few short moments in the second quarter, boosted by three 3-pointers by Nick Young, who scored 11 points in the second quarter. However, Oklahoma City ended the half with a 46-42 lead. Back-to-back 3-point shots by Thabo Sefolosha and Durant early in the third quarter extended the Thunder lead to 10 points with about 8 1/2 minutes left. Philadelphia got the deficit back down to three just a few minutes later, but the Thunder went up 69-57 with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. Westbrook continued to lead the offense in the third quarter, scoring 12 points in the period as the Thunder took a 78-66 lead into the final quarter. Oklahoma City shot 4-for-4 from the 3-point line in the third quarter. Sixers head coach Doug Collins said before the game his team needed to limit the Thunder's free throw attempts, but his team was unsuccessful in doing so. Oklahoma City made 21 out of 27 free throws, while the 76ers only shot eight and made six. The Thunder travels to Toronto to face the Raptors at noon on Sunday. The 76ers finish their road trip at San Antonio at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. NOTES: Entering Friday's game, the Thunder has not lost two straight home games since 2009, when the Thunder lost to the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 1 before losing an overtime game to the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 3. Oklahoma City is coming off a home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. "We've always had that bounce-back toughness that it takes in this league," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "We don't like to lose one game, let alone two in a row." Oklahoma City has lost two games in a row once this season, when it lost on the road to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 20 and at the Miami Heat on Dec. 25. ... The last time the 76ers and Thunder played, Oklahoma City won a 116-109 overtime game in Philadelphia on Nov. 24. ... Collins said his team has to limit the free throw and fast break opportunities for the Thunder in order to have a chance. "The key thing is, can we keep them off the foul line?" Collins said. "Durant and Westbrook are, I think, three and four in fast break points in the league. So you can't give them those opportunities." In the Nov. 24 matchup, Oklahoma City shot 37 free throws, while Philadelphia only shot 17. The Thunder also led the 76ers in fast break points, 19-13.
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