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Thunder Earns Slim Win against Atlanta

Jeff Green (22) defends Josh Smith (5) in the Thunder's seven-point over the Hawks. (AP Photo) Jeff Green (22) defends Josh Smith (5) in the Thunder's seven-point over the Hawks. (AP Photo)

Originally Published: Feb 2, 2010 10:4 PM CDT

Corey DeMoss
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder held off a fourth-quarter rally and a career night by Joe Johnson to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 106-99 Tuesday.

Johnson scored a career-high 37 points and helped the Hawks (30-17) eliminate a 13-point second-half deficit to tie the score in the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant and Jeff Green helped OKC (27-21) pull away in the waning minutes.

Durant led Oklahoma City’s offense all night and finished with 33 points, but it was Green’s clutch shot with time winding down that clinched the win. With the Thunder up four points with less than two minutes remaining and the shot clock expiring, Green hit a 3-pointer from the corner to give OKC an insurmountable lead.

As has become the norm, the Thunder used a dominant third quarter to secure the victory. After the teams went into halftime tied at 49, Oklahoma City scored on 13 of its first 15 possessions in the third quarter to build a 13-point lead.

Joe Johnson kept the Hawks within striking distance, hitting 3-pointers on two straight possessions to cut the lead to six. Those shots capped a stretch during which Johnson scored 10 consecutive points for Atlanta.

Oklahoma City outscored the Hawks 30-23 in the third quarter. The teams scored an identical number of points in every other period.

Kevin Durant has now scored 25 or more points in 22 consecutive games and 30 or more points in six of his last seven games. Green finished with 19 points, and Russell Westbrook added 12.

Oklahoma City has now recovered from a three-game losing streak with a three-game winning streak. It will start a three-game road trip at 7 p.m. Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets, who will be playing without All-Star point guard Chris Paul.

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