OKLAHOMA CITY - Atlanta knew what it had to do coming into Oklahoma City if it wanted to pull out its first win of the season. It had to get out and run, limit its turnovers and not commit stupid fouls.
The Hawks followed the plan to perfection as they pulled out a 104-95 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday.
But Atlanta (1-1) also had to show some its toughness in the fourth quarter to walk away with the win.
Leading 86-84, Atlanta's Lou Williams drained a 3-pointer with Kendrick Perkins running at him. The next time down the court he hit a pair of fouls shots to put the Hawks up by seven with less than four minutes left.
The Thunder were able to close the gap to two points, but clutch shots from DeShawn Stevenson and Williams were enough to hold off the home team.
The Hawks played without the injured Josh Smith, but got quality minutes from their bench as 10 players scored at least four points. Al Horford paced them with 23 points and Williams added 19 off the bench.
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant posted 22 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the defeat, and newly acquired Kevin Martin led all scorers with 28.
Atlanta didn't have many individual matchups that went in its favor. But Horford had one of them and he took advantage of it. Whether Oklahoma City (1-2) stuck Kendrick Perkins or Serge Ibaka on him, Horford was able to get off his shot.
Durant caused his own set of problems for the Hawks. Playing his new position of point forward, Atlanta had no one who could stay with the three-time scoring champion. Stevenson started out on him before Williams and Devin Harris came off the bench and took their turns on him. None of them could slow Durant down and the Hawks switched to a zone defense.
With three minutes left in the second quarter, the Hawks held a 43-38 advantage. But Martin led the Thunder on a 13-4 run to end the half.
Atlanta looked to its bench in the third quarter to get itself back in the game. The Hawks stormed back into the lead and led 75-74 heading into the fourth quarter and never relinquished the lead.
NOTES: Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks didn't know until right before tip-off whether Perkins would be able to play against Atlanta. Perkins left Friday's win over Portland with five minutes left in the game with a sprained ankle and had to go through a vigorous workout in pre-game to convince coaches he was fine. Due to the trade that sent Cole Aldrich to Houston, the Thunder are down to only one true center in Hasheem Thabeet when Perkins is unavailable. ... Durant came into Sunday's game on a tear on the boards. He was averaging 15 rebounds per game, which would be a career high if he continued on that pace the rest of the season. ... With a young team that's in transition, Atlanta coach Larry Drew said he's had to employ a trait that he's been working on since he became a head coach -- patience. "As we move forward, this is a process," Drew said. "It's not going to happen overnight. It's going to call for me being patient with it. I'm committed to doing that."