MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 26, 2013

Durant, Martin pump Thunder up, on to a W


Associated Press

— SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kevin Durant had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Kevin Martin scored 24 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a slow start to overwhelm the Sacramento Kings 105-95 on Friday night.

Russell Westbrook added 18 points and a season-high 14 assists to anchor a 28-10 run to start the third quarter. The spurt helped Oklahoma City go ahead by 25 points and improve to 3-2 on its season-long six-game road trip, which ends Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Thunder have won eight of 10 to climb to the top of the NBA standings.

Tyreke Evans scored 16 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 14 points and eight rebounds on a difficult night shooting for the Kings, who have lost three straight and four of five. Oklahoma City outshot Sacramento 48 to 41 percent.

Sacramento’s pending purchase agreement to a group that wants to relocate the team to Seattle still didn’t stop an announced crowd of 15,022 from showing up. The Sonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. Ironically, Thunder owner Clay Bennett is the head of the league’s relocation committee now.

Durant, Westbrook and Martin — who played for the Kings from 2004-10 — eventually mowed down Sacramento on both ends of the floor. The trio helped the Thunder shoot 52 percent from the floor in the first half, with Westbrook taking an outlet pass from Durant for an uncontested dunk in the final seconds to go ahead 58-51 at the break.

The Thunder’s leading men quieted the Kings with near-flawless basketball. Serge Ibaka shut down Cousins, Westbrook orchestrated the offense and Durant often finished in spectacular fashion during a 28-10 spurt to start the third quarter that gave Oklahoma City an 86-61 lead and put the game away.