MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

March 27, 2013

Thunder bounce Wizards

OKLAHOMA CITY — If Kevin Durant has his heart set on a third straight NBA scoring title, you might ask why he took only 10 shots Wednesday against the Washington Wizards.

No worries. The Thunder’s star player is always contributing.

Durant scored 20 points to lead an efficient offense in Oklahoma City’s 103-80 rout of the Wizards, snapping a two-game losing streak to Washington.

The Thunder’s so-called “Big Three”  — Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Martin  — combined for 59 points on just 27 shots and the Thunder led by double digits for most of the second half.

Oklahoma City remains 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio for the top spot in the Western Conference after the Spurs held on to beat the Denver Nuggets 100-99.

“Shots are going to come around for me,” Durant said. “Points are going to come around for me. It was balanced tonight. . Who cares? We won the basketball game. I’m happy for our guys coming out and responding after us losing to them.”

Durant was the only Oklahoma City player to reach double figures in shots. Westbrook, who scored 21 points, did so on eight field goal attempts, while Martin, who had 18 points, took nine shots. Oklahoma City shot 46 percent from the field and went 37-of-41 from the free throw line, compared to 32.1 percent (21-of-29) for the Wizards.

Durant hit all 10 of his free throws and Westbrook was 10-of-11 at the line.

“When you don’t have to take the ball out of the net, you get an opportunity to use your athleticism and get out in transition,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “We were really good with that. We’re fast. Our first three steps can get down to half-court pretty quick and then we put pressure on the defense. It’s all about defending. It’s all about rebounding and getting out on the break.”

Washington had taken its previous two games against Oklahoma City, winning the only meeting during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season before a 101-99 victory in Washington on Jan. 7  — the second played without point guard John Wall.

Wall, coming off 47 points in a win over Memphis, overcame 3-of-18 shooting to finish with 18 points and 12 assists, but he had limited help. Numerous injuries and illness left the Wizards with only eight players in uniform.

Oklahoma City has won nine of its last 10 home games and in the nine victories they’ve won by an average of 22 points.

“I like the way we’re moving the ball,” Durant said. “I like the way we’re helping each other out on defense and talking. If we can keep that up no matter what, we’ll be fine. Right now, I know we love to win basketball games, but it’s about bettering our habits. There’s 10 games left and we want to continue playing sound, solid defense, moving the ball on offense and going out there and wreaking havoc, getting steals and getting blocked shots and try to get some easy points.”

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