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Thunder 113, Pacers 89

By Conrad Brunner
Pacers.com

The Thunder played very much like a top contender determined to snap a three-game losing streak in overpowering the Pacers 113-89 Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scoring 21 apiece and James Harden adding 20 all totals reached by the end of the third quarter the home team opened a double-digit lead in the first quarter and cruised the rest of the way as the Pacers couldn't find the range.

The victory may prove costly for Oklahoma City as Durant, the NBAs leading scorer, limped out of the game after colliding with Tyler Hansbrough on a drive late in the third quarter. The initial diagnosis was a sprained left ankle.

Hansbrough's 13 points led the Pacers, who shot 34 percent from the field.

IMPACT

Indiana lost its third in four games and dropped to 27-33 overall, 10-19 on the road and 10-6 under Frank Vogel. Since a 7-1 start under Vogel, the Pacers have gone 3-5. Oklahoma City ended its longest losing streak of the season and improved to 37-22 overall, 21-9 at home.

QUOTE MARKS

  • "We needed a win badly, but they just got the best of us in the first quarter and didn't look back. We just have to understand that we are a better basketball team than we showed tonight and get ready for Dallas." Vogel
  • "We played like a really tired team. Tonight, it really wasn't much of a game." Pacers forward Danny Granger
  • "I think we'll still come out there well (on Friday vs. Dallas) but I think weve got to come out there and execute plays. Tonight we just didnt show up." Hansbrough
  • "It's tough, especially against a playoff team; we know that. We've just got to play better down the stretch mentally and even before the game prepare mentally. We just made some mental mistakes. This is going to test our character to see where we're at." Pacers point guard Darren Collison

STAT OF THE GAME

Indianas started combined to score a season-low 33 points while shooting 9-of-38 (.237) from the field.

HIGHLIGHTS

The Pacers were in trouble from the outset, missing their first seven shots and committing four turnovers as the Thunder jumped out to a 10-0 lead, and it quickly grew to 21-7.

The Pacers had a brief surge early in the second quarter, scoring five in a row to trim the deficit to 30-23 but with the Thunder answered with a 10-0 run, Harden scoring seven of the points, to push the lead to 40-23 and the Pacers trailed by double digits the rest of the night.

Durants exit came with 2:42 left in the third period. Though he remained in long enough to make two free throws he fouled immediately after the inbounds pass and limped off the court and was assisted to the locker room.

Rather than sagging in the absence of their top scorer, the Thunder answered with a 16-2 run to extend the lead to 97-62 early in the fourth quarter.

BY THE NUMBERS

Hansbrough shot 4-of-16 and pulled seven rebounds to go with his 13 points. Dahntay Jones shot 4-of-5 and scored 12 and Lance Stephenson produced the first double-digit game of his career with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes. Darren Collison was the only starter to score in double figures with 11 but he shot 2-of-11. Roy Hibbert had nine points and 12 rebounds. The Pacers were 28-of-82 (.341) from the field and had more turnovers (17) than assists (16).

Durant was 7-of-14 for the Thunder, while Westbrook was 7-of-11 with nine assists and three steals. Harden shot 6-of-14. Daequan Cook scored 12 off the bench, all on 3-pointers. The Thunder shot .481, outrebounded the Pacers 46-43 and had 13 steals.

NOTEWORTHY

  • Including tonights 27-18 deficit, the Pacers have been outscored 158-101 in the first quarters of their last five losses.
  • The Pacers have shot 37-of-114 (.325) and committed 24 turnovers in the first quarters of their last five losses.
  • Danny Granger scored just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting, snapping a streak of 18 consecutive games in double figures.
  • Indianas 35-point deficit (97-62) early in the fourth quarter was the biggest of the season, eclipsing a 32-point deficit during a 101-75 loss to Philadelphia on Nov. 3.

UP NEXT

This three-game road trip continues Friday in Dallas against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks (8:30 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM).