Notebook: Thunder 113, Kings 103

Posted Dec 14, 2012 11:45 PM

By Randy Renner, for

THE FACTS: The Oklahoma City Thunder won their 10th straight game, but not before nearly blowing a 24-point lead. OKC's starters had to be brought back into the game after appearing to have taken the rest of the night off in the fourth quarter to preserve a 113-103 win.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 31 points and Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to score 26 (two shy of a career high), with 23 coming during a furious rally in the fourth quarter when he hit nine of his team's 10 made baskets.

Oklahoma City (19-4) had five players in double figures in addition to Durant's 31. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin each had 18. Ibaka also grabbed 11 rebounds. Thabo Sefolosha had a season-high 15 points and Russell Westbrook added 13 points and 13 assists for his ninth double-double of the season.

The Kings (7-15) also finished with five men in double figures but none of them could equal what Thomas did by himself in just the fourth quarter. Tyreke Evans came closest with 21, Jason Thompson dropped in 15, Aaron Brooks added 13 and DeMarcus Cousins was back in the lineup after his one-game suspension. He scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

The Kings outscored Oklahoma City 61-52 in the second half but it wasn't quite enough to dig out of a 61-42 hole the Thunder dumped them into in the first half with a big 22-4 run.

QUOTABLE: "Most of the game we played good basketball and then we just gave up too many easy buckets in the fourth quarter. I don't like the way we closed the game, I didn't wanna have to put our [starters] back in but we're not perfect. We're still trying to figure some things out."
--Thunder coach Scott Brooks

THE STAT: The Thunder went on a 22-4 run in the second quarter, pushing a 34-32 lead out to 56-36. Then in the fourth quarter the Kings went on a 22-4 spurt of their own cutting that 24-point, 99-75 OKC lead with 7:53 to play down to just six (103-97) at the 3:21 mark.

TURNING POINT: The Thunder built a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter with many of the second unit guys on the floor. Then the Kings backups sliced that lead all the way down to just 10 with 4:17 to play. That's when Brooks lost patience with his backups and brought Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka back into the game to stop the bleeding. Kings head coach Keith Smart kept his backups in the game and they continued to play well but not good enough to push past OKC's Big 3.

QUOTABLE II: "This game should have been on ice. We were down 24 points but our group did a good job of getting us back in. We made it tough, but Scotty has that luxury over there of calling the big dogs back in."
-- Keith Smart

HOT: The Kings started hot, shooting 52.9 percent in the first quarter (9-for-17). Durant was 6-for-8 (17 points) in the first half. Thompson was 4-for-5 in the first half. Thomas was 9-for-11 (4-for-6, 3-pointers) in the fourth quarter. OKC shot 57.9 percent in the final 12 minutes and the Kings shot 55.6 percent.

NOT: Kendrick Perkins was 1-for-5 in the first half. The Kings were just 5-for-16 (31.3 percent) in the second quarter, while Thomas was 9-for-11 in the fourth and the rest of his teammates were a combined 1-for-7.

INSIDE THE ARENA: Oklahoma Cityans are certainly no strangers to horrific acts of violence and before the game, fans observed a moment of silence for the victims and all those affected by the school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

GOOD MOVE: Brooks wanted his team to come out with better ball movement and get a better start offensively after managing just 36 points in the first half Wednesday night. In the first half, OKC scored 61 points (32 in the second quarter) to take command.

BAD MOVE: Mouthing off to official Tony Brown, who handed out three technical fouls to Aaron Brooks, Perkins and Durant.

NOTABLE: The 19-4 start for the Thunder is the team's best since moving to Oklahoma City and the best start in franchise history since the Sonics began the 1993-94 season 21-3...The 10 game winning streak is the longest in the Oklahoma City era and the longest for the franchise since Seattle won 11 games in the 1996-97 season...OKC is now 11-0 when five or more players score in double figures.

UP NEXT: For the Sunday vs. Denver, Monday @ Phoenix, Wednesday @ Golden State. For the Thunder, Monday vs. San Antonio, Wednesday @ Atlanta, Thursday @ Minnesota.