Thunder Outlast Pesky Kings

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:12 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Feb 12, 2011 11:47 PM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Thunder might have gotten a better game than they were expecting, but in the end, it was still another notch in the win column.

The Western Conference’s worst team gave OKC all it could handle before the Thunder came away with a 99-97 victory on Saturday.

Up two over the Kings with five seconds remaining, Kevin Durant shocked everyone by missing two free throws, leaving the door wide open.

Sacramento inbounded from midcourt and guard Tyreke Evans launched an off-balance three that bounced around among several players before Jeff Green pulled the ball for good and the clock expired.

The Thunder controlled much of the second half and led by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter before the Kings pulled to within a possession several times.

Sacramento surprised Oklahoma City from the opening tip, jumping out to a 16-8 lead.

But the Thunder regrouped and rallied back to tie it at 24, and a 50-foot prayer from Eric Maynor found the bottom of the net as the first quarter expired to give the Thunder a three-point lead.

OKC continued that momentum and led by nine at halftime.

Sacramento used an 8-0 run in the third to catch up again, but Durant took over in the fourth quarter.

He hit the Thunder’s last five shots of the game, matching his jersey number on the game with 35 points.

Meanwhile, Evans did the same for Sacramento, scoring his team’s final 10 points but missing the big one when it counted.

Russell Westbrook added 22 for the Thunder to go with seven assists and five boards. James Harden had 11 points and a career-high five steals.

Evans had 30 to lead six Kings in double figures.

OKC shot uncharacteristically poorly from the free-throw line, shooting 65 percent. Kevin Durant was 8-of-13.

Oklahoma City won’t have to travel too far, heading about an hour southwest to take on Golden State. Tipoff against the Warriors is set for 7 p.m.