CHICAGO – Some late game heroics from three-time all-star Kevin Durant powered the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 97-91 victory against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago last night.
Trailing by six at three-quarter time, the Thunder rallied late with Durant making a couple of clutch baskets in the final minute to help his side pull away and improve to 3-2 early in the NBA season.
Having made a nice fade away jumper just seconds earlier, Durant iced the game with an off-balance one foot fade-away basket with 35 seconds left.
Durant led the Thunder with 24 points, eight of them coming down the stretch and was helped by Serge Ibaka with 21 and Russell Westbrook added 16.
“My teammates played so well tonight,” Durant said. “Serge was good, K Martin was good, Russ (Westbrook) was good at setting everybody up so I just kind of flew under the radar for the first three quarters.
“But then I knew it was winning time so I just tried to be aggressive.”
The Thunder turned the ball over 22 times in a scrappy game but where helped by the Bulls who committed 20 turnovers of their own and now sit at 3-2 following the loss.
While Kevin Martin played well, the Thunder are still adjusting to life without James Harden having traded the reigning Sixth Man of the Year to Houston right before the start of the season.
“It was a sloppy game, I can’t have six turnovers, I’ve got to do better,” Durant added.
“But I’m glad we came here and got a win against a really good team.”
Chicago forward Luol Deng top scored with 27 points and Richard Hamilton added 20 points and eight rebounds but it was not enough to get the home side over the line.
Having come into the game ranked second in the league in defensive points allowed per possession, the Bulls allowed the most points against them all season.
In Portland, the Clippers built a 25-point lead in the first half, then held off a second-half rally by the Trail Blazers for a 103-90 victory. Jamal Crawford scored 25 points off the bench, while Paul and DeAndre Jordan had 21 apiece. Nicolas Batum had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, who ultimately couldn’t catch up. (Reuters)