Durant, Westbrook Lead Thunder Over 76ers
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kevin Durant scored eight of his 23 points down the stretch to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 92-88 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Russell Westbrook had 22 points and 13 rebounds and James Harden added 16 points as the NBA-leading Thunder overcame a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter and won their sixth straight game.
Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday each had 18 points for the Atlantic Division-leading 76ers, who beat Detroit on Tuesday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
Coming off his MVP performance in the All-Star game, Durant struggled a bit. The two-time scoring champion shot 7 of 18. But he made key baskets and free throws and added a clutch steal late in the game.
Sixers coach Doug Collins was back on the bench after watching the fourth quarter of the 97-68 win at Detroit from the locker room because he was dizzy. Collins said he felt great and that the dizziness was caused by dehydration.
For a while, it seemed the Sixers were going to give Collins another reason to feel better.
Following a timeout by the Thunder, Iguodala’s steal led to a jumper by Holiday that put Philadelphia up 84-77 with 5:31 remaining.
But the Sixers missed their next 10 shots and Oklahoma City took advantage.
Durant hit a jumper and 3-pointer. His free throw with 3:20 left tied it at 85.
Serge Ibaka put the Thunder up 87-85 on a pair of free throws with 1:53 remaining. A free throw by Kendrick Perkins made it 88-85. After Lou Williams missed a 3-pointer, Perkins missed two free throws with 20.4 seconds to go. But Durant’s steal at the other end and a free throw put the Thunder up 89-85.
Iguodala hit a 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds to go to get Philadelphia within one. But Durant made a free throw and then Westbrook made two to seal it after getting a rebound off Durant’s miss.
The Thunder were the West’s No. 4 playoff seed last season when they fell two wins short of reaching the NBA finals. They’re aiming to win a championship this season and are ahead of the pack in a tough conference.
Despite losing six of seven, the upstart Sixers are still the front-runners in their division.
The Sixers used a 10-0 run to take their biggest lead, 63-55, in the third quarter. Jodie Meeks followed a thunderous slam by Iguodala with a fast-break layup to cap the run. Daequan Cook ended it with a 3-pointer and the Thunder cut the deficit to 67-63 after three quarters.
Durant and Philadelphia’s Evan Turner drew technicals and had to be separated after a mini-scuffle in the final minute of the first half. Durant heard loud boos when he got the ball on the next possession, but he silenced the crowd with a 3-pointer that gave the Thunder a 53-48 lead going into halftime.
Notes: Sixers center Spencer Hawes missed his 11th straight game because of a strained left Achilles. The Sixers are 12-2 with the 7-footer in the lineup, 9-13 without him. … Former Sixers coach and All-Star guard Maurice Cheeks, an assistant with the Thunder, got a standing ovation when he was shown on the video screen in the second quarter. … The Thunder are 13-6 on the road, 15-1 at home. … Perkins earned his 12th technical foul in the fourth quarter. He’s one away from a one-game suspension.
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