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Thunder 97, Kings 95

The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Forward Kevin Durant scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off a furious fourth-quarter charge by the Sacramento Kings for a 97-95 victory at Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday.

Kings guard Isaiah Thomas scored 21 of his team-high 24 points in the final period but missed a fadeaway jumper from inside the key as the horn sounded, giving the Thunder its eighth consecutive victory.

Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins sat out the game with a sprained left ankle suffered Sunday against the Golden State Warriors.

The Kings (4-12) lost their fifth straight, matching their longest skid of the season.

Cousins, who along with Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is one of three players averaging at least 21 points and 10 rebounds, leads the Kings in scoring (21.7 per game), rebounding (10.1), steals (1.60) and blocks (1.20).

Point guard Russell Westbrook had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Thunder, and he pressured Thomas on the game's final shot. Guard Jeremy Lamb finished with 14 points, and forward Serge Ibaka and guard Reggie Jackson finished with 13 points apiece for Oklahoma City (13-3).

Sacramento rookie guard Ben McLemore had 14 points, making four of five 3-point attempts. Forward Jason Thompson, playing 33 minutes with Cousins sidelined, had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

NOTES: Nine-year veteran F Chuck Hayes started in place of Kings F DeMarcus Cousins (ankle). It was Hayes' first start since Nov. 13, 2012, and he finished with six points and nine rebounds. ... F Kevin Durant was named the Western Conference Player of the Month after averaging 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists in Oklahoma City's 14 games in November. ... Kings G Ben McLemore won conference Rookie of the Month honors. The first-year pro out of Kansas averaged 9.1 points in 22.8 minutes per game in the first 14 contests of his career. ... McLemore entered the game tied with Philadelphia 76ers G Michael Carter-Williams for the rookie lead in 3-pointers made with 21. ... The Thunder assigned G/F Andre Roberson to Tulsa of the NBA Development League. ... The Kings squandered a 12-point lead after one period and entered halftime trailing for the 13th time in 16 games.
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