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SPORTS: Oklahoma City Thunder

Crowning Achievement: Thunder Crushes Kings; Clinches No. 1 Seed In West

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Just 2:15 into the first quarter, Kevin Durant pulled up and drained a 13-footer to put the Thunder up 8-0.

This was Oklahoma City's night right off the bat.

Durant led the way with 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as the Thunder thumped the Sacramento Kings Monday night in Oklahoma City and clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.

The win also improves OKC to 60-21, clinching the franchise's first 60-win season since moving to Oklahoma City from Seattle in 2008.

RELATED STORY: NBA Scoring Title Should Go To Durant Over Carmelo

Despite shooting out of the gate, this wasn't a game of runs. The Thunder methodically pulled away from Sacramento, outscoring the Kings by six, five and five in each of the first three quarters to build an 83-67 lead entering the fourth quarter.

With things pretty much wrapped up by the halfway mark of the third quarter and OKC already playing without Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Martin, the Thunder's reserves got some heavy minutes in the second half. Ronnie Brewer grabbed 13 rebounds but shot just 1-9 in his 30 minutes of play, while Daniel Orton added a solid 10 points and seven rebounds. Jeremy Lamb chipped in eight points in 12 minutes.

As the reserves logged heavy minutes, Sacramento put together a fourth-quarter surge to attempt to make things interesting, but never got it closer than nine points.  

The Kings (28-53) were led by former Thunder first-round pick Cole Aldrich, who scored 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. He shot 6-6 from the floor.

Oklahoma City shot 45.7 percent from the floor but just 5-23 (21.7 percent) from 3-point range.  The Thunder also held the Kings to 43.7 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.

In addition to Durant's strong performance, Russell Westbrook scored 21 points and added eight assists for the Thunder.  Serge Ibaka also chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes. 

With the No. 1 seed now wrapped up, OKC's attention will turn to the race for the eighth spot. The Jazz beat Minnesota Monday night to remain within one game of the Lakers in the race for eighth. With one game remaining for each team, the Jazz must beat Memphis Wednesday and have the Lakers lose their Wednesday home game to Houston. Utah holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.

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