The Norman Transcript

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January 20, 2014

Thunder corral Kings

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

In the past month, Perkins has been determined to become an offensive threat for the Thunder. No matter how many shots or layups he has missed, he continues to call for the ball in the post.

Even though Perkins was not making shots, he did keep defenders occupied as Durant continued to work his magic. He posted 13 points in the first quarter.

However, Thomas had it going early and torched the Oklahoma City backcourt and helped the Kings take a 30-28 first-quarter lead.

As Thomas continued to make shots in the second period, Durant yelled from the bench at guard Reggie Jackson to “take the challenge” of stopping Thomas. It did not help much as Thomas finished the first half with 27 points.

“I was just aggressive,” Thomas said. “I hit a couple of my first shots and I just stayed aggressive. I could have been a little more aggressive in the second half. It is what it is.”

The combination of Durant and Ibaka was enough to offset Thomas’ first-half explosion as they combined for 31 points. Durant also showed his playmaking side late in the second quarter when he crossed halfcourt on a fastbreak and tossed an alley-oop pass to Ibaka, who threw it down with ease. Oklahoma City led 57-52 at halftime.

After a quick run to start the third quarter, the Kings tied the game at 60-60. From that point on, Oklahoma City outscored Sacramento 29-14 the rest of the quarter. That included Durant draining a pair of 3-pointers over guard Ben McLemore and forward Derrick Williams to give the Thunder a 89-74 lead.

“This team does a great job of turning you over,” Malone said. “But more importantly, converting. The one thing we always try to show is resiliency to making mistakes. We just to do a better job of valuing the ball.”

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