Originally Published: Oct 31, 2009 12:58 AM CDT
Vitals | Box Score | Recap
Oklahoma Sports Staff and AP Wire Reports
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan -- Kevin Durant dropped 25 points, 11 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 91-83 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
"We showed some toughness on the road against a playoff team and passed a big test," Durant said.
The Thunder is a month ahead of last season's pace. The franchise is 2-0 for the first time since the 2003-04 season when it was in Seattle. The Thunder began 1-16 last season, their first in Oklahoma City, and didn't get their second victory until Nov. 29.
"It is a big win, to go into one of the best arenas in the league and win their home opener," Detroit coach Scott Brooks said.
Durant hit the go-ahead free throws late in the third quarter and kept Oklahoma City ahead in the fourth with an plethora of shots such as a dunk, fadeaway and 3-pointer.
Jeff Green added 16 points for Oklahoma City, Nenad Krstic chipped in 14 and Russell Westbrook had 10 points and 10 assists. Rookie James Harden had eight points and eight assists in his first NBA road game.
"They are well-coached and they have a wealth of young talent," Detroit coach John Kuester said. "They've added Krstic, somebody I coached in New Jersey, Kevin Ollie, one of my favorite players of all time, and Etan Thomas, a high energy player, that gives them a nice mix."
The Pistons started strong, leading 24-16 after the first quarter, but struggled to find a rhythm on offense the rest of the game.
"Guys' body language wasn't the same in the second half as it was in the first half," Pistons guard Ben Gordon said.
Detroit finished with more turnovers (15) than assists (12) and shot just 37 percent from the field.
"It seemed like there was a lid on that rim," forward Charlie Villanueva said after missing nine of 12 shots in his home debut with the Pistons.
The Thunder, look like they might be as good as they are young. Oklahoma City is the second-youngest team in the NBA and its starting lineup doesn't have a player with more than five years' experience.
Detroit was ahead for most of the first three quarters, but then fell behind 62-61 after eight lead changes and seven ties.
The Thunder simply wouldn't let them come back in the fourth quarter as a sparse crowd thinned out in an arena that used to be regularly packed.The Pistons announced the game was a sellout, but there were a lot of patches of unoccupied seats in the upper level.
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