Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

December 20, 2013

Durant leads streaking Thunder past Bulls 107-95

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Oklahoma City led by 14 in the first half, but their advantage was cut to three at the break, prompting a strong response from the Thunder in the third quarter.

They used a 13-4 run to go up 68-56 with 7:52 to go in the period. Westbrook's layup increased the advantage to 13 about 1½ minutes later, and then he had a layup and Durant made a jumper to make it 79-64 with 3:25 left in the third.

Jackson's 3 in the final minute put Oklahoma City up 84-72 heading to the fourth, and Nick Collison opened the final quarter with three-point play. The Bulls put together another spurt to close to 89-82 on Augustin's 3, but that was as close as it would get.

"We were just trying to shut down the paint," Jackson said. "That was our main focus at halftime and I think we did a good job of locking in, getting some stops, and getting out on the break. ... They're physical. They play really well defensively, especially half-court sets. Right now they're a little depleted, people are banged up, beat up."

Jeremy Lamb's dunk with 7:44 left made it 93-82, pumping up the home crowd. Durant made a 3-pointer and Westbrook's two free throws with 3:06 to go extended the lead to 105-86.

"I think our defense just hasn't been there to help us out," Gibson said. "We are normally a great defensive team. We just got to get guys more reps, especially now that we lost Jimmy with the ankle."

Jackson made six of the Thunder's seven baskets in a 6:13 stretch bridging the first two quarters. Lamb's steal and fast-break dunk with 9:21 left in the second interrupted Jackson's streak at four consecutive baskets.

Jackson's jumper about a minute later gave Oklahoma City a 41-27 lead.

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