OKLAHOMA CITY — After the hype and drama of playing the L.A. Lakers on Friday, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks didn’t know exactly what he would see from his team Sunday. Even though he knew Indiana would be a tough matchup, he was concerned his squad wouldn’t come out with the necessary excitement level needed to take on a physical Pacers squad.
Brooks was right to be worried. The Thunder played lackluster throughout most of the night but found a way to grind out a 104-93 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“When you have the Lakers in town Friday, excitement was in the building. That’s always a fun game when you play the Lakers,” Brooks said. “I was a little concerned with an emotional letdown. But our guys fought through it and came back.”
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Martin combined for 72 points to lead Oklahoma City (17-4) to its eighth win in a row and the 12th consecutive contest it has topped the century mark. But it took a strong fourth quarter for them to keep both streaks alive.
The Pacers (10-11) entered the night last in the NBA in scoring at only 90.7 points per game. With Danny Granger still injured, they have only a few options they can turn to for consistent scoring.
However, Indiana has hung its hat on its defense this year. It’s first in fewest points allowed. Because of that, coach Frank Vogel liked his team’s chances of at least slowing down the league’s highest-scoring team.
The plan worked for the Pacers until Durant decided to take over. With Paul George and George Hill guarding him, the NBA’s second-leading scorer forced his will on the game. He scored 10 points in the fourth to open up the lead.
But it was Westbrook who got the Oklahoma City fans on their feet when he blocked a Roy Hibbert dunk attempt that caused Hibbert to fall to the ground. Westbrook then hit three consecutive jumpers in Hibbert’s face to put the game away.