HOUSTON -- Kevin Durant continues to improve in late-game
situations -- and the star forward says he doesn't care about them.
"It might sound odd, but late in the game I just don't care
anymore," Durant said of his heroics. "If you think about it too
much, you end up overdoing it or missing, so I just don't care. If
I miss a shot, I miss it. If I make it, I make it."
Oklahoma City (7-2) won its second straight over Houston after
defeating the Rockets 109-94 Friday in Oklahoma City and plays its
final game of a back-to-back-to-back stretch Sunday in San Antonio.
"When you play a team back-to-back, it's always hard to win,"
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "We had enough energy to
win the game. We executed down the stretch and made big plays and
made big shots. We hit some big free throws."
Luis Scola had a season-high 28 points and seven rebounds, Goran Dragic had a season-best 20 points and eight assists, and Kevin Martin had 16 points to lead the Rockets (2-6), who have lost four
"I think we played a great game," Scola said. "This is one of
the best teams in the NBA right there. At the end, we put ourselves
in a situation to win the game. They were just too good. They made
some great plays, and at the end of the game, it comes down to
great players making great plays."
After Durant put the Thunder on top 96-95 with 22 seconds left,
Chandler Parsons missed a 3-point attempt, but the ball went out of
bounds off the Thunder. Dragic missed a running jumper with 7
seconds left, and Durant grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
Durant hit both free throws for the final margin before Dragic
threw the ball out of bounds with less than a second remaining to
Houston coach Kevin McHale said they were trying to get the ball
to Martin in the corner on the final play.
"The play was for (Martin), and they switched on (Martin),"
Dragic said. "Then I saw Luis wide open, but the ball just
slipped. It was high, high, but you know it was a good play. Luis
was open. I just couldn't make the pass, but it was my fault, so
Durant, who scored 13 points in the fourth, said he wanted to be
the guy to make big shots earlier in his career, but now, he
"I made a few (big shots), but I wasn't as successful as I
wanted to be," Durant said. "I think I cared about it too much,
so now, I'm just letting it play out. Whatever happens, happens.
I'm still confident in myself that I can make those shots.
Hopefully, I make more shots."
After Durant nailed a 3-pointer to put the Thunder up 90-87, the
Rockets answered with a 6-0 run to take the lead on a Dragic lay-up
before extending it to 93-90 on Scola's jumper with 2:03 left.
Durant closed the gap to 95-94 on a jumper with 1:22 remaining
and Martin turned it over on the other end, but Durant missed a
jumper with under a minute left. Patrick Patterson had a chance to
put Houston back up by three, but he missed from 20 feet.
Houston began the second half with a 6-0 run to take a 52-48
lead on a Martin dunk, and answered back-to-back jumpers from
Westbrook with an 14-2 run highlighted by 10 points from Dragic,
including a 3-pointer with 4:41 left in the third to make it 66-54.
Oklahoma City, however, responded with a 12-0 run over the final
2:38 to tie it 72-all and ended the quarter on a lay-up by
Mohammed. Westbrook and Mohammed each had four points in the run as
the Rockets missed their last six shots of the quarter and
committed three turnovers.
Mohammed said the Thunder came back with defense.
"We got stops, and we pushed it right down their throats,"
Mohammed said. "We executed. Russell did a great job of getting in
the lane and knocking down shots. James hit some three's. Defense
got it done."
The Thunder continued the momentum into the fourth quarter,
taking an 82-77 lead on a James Harden 3-pointer with 8:42
remaining, but Houston answered with six straight points capped by
a 3-pointer from Martin to put Houston back up 83-82 midway through
Oklahoma City led 48-46 at the half behind 12 points from Durant
and 11 points apiece from Westbrook and Mohammed. Scola was the
only Houston player in double-figures with 12 points.
Notes: Oklahoma City back-up guard Eric Maynor was carried to
the locker room with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter after a drive
to the basket. Maynor immediately went down on the baseline and
grabbed his right knee. The entire Thunder bench went over to check
on Maynor before he was carried to the locker room by teammates.
Brooks said Maynor has a right leg injury that will be re-evaluated
Sunday. ... Both teams shot poorly from long range. The Thunder
went 7 for 21 (33 percent) while the Rockets were 5 of 14 (36
percent). . Rockets guard Kyle Lowry missed a second straight game
with a bruised right foot.
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