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January 15, 2013

Thunder battle past Suns, 102-90

PHOENIX — Kevin Durant scored 27 of his 41 points in the second half and the Oklahoma City Thunder became the NBA’s first 30-game winner of the season with a 102-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.

Russell Westbrook added 36 for the Thunder, but it was Durant who took over in his fourth 40-point game of the season, scoring 19 in the fourth quarter and falling one shy of the season-high 42 he scored two games earlier against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Oklahoma City won its fourth straight, the last three on the road to improve their NBA-best record to 30-8. Durant scored 33 Sunday night in an 87-83 win at Portland.

Shannon Brown scored 21 for the Suns. Marcin Gortat had 19 points and 15 points, but was the unfortunate would-be defender on Durant’s spectacular dunk late in the game.

Kevin Martin was the only other Oklahoma City player in double figures with 12 points.

The Thunder were without Serge Ibaka for the second game in a row with a chest contusion. Phoenix didn’t have Jared Dudley (right wrist strain) or Jermaine O’Neal (back spasms).

Down 68-54 after Westbrook’s layup, the Suns finished the third quarter with a 14-4 run, cutting it to 72-68 on Michael Beasley’s 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left in the period. Oklahoma City didn’t get a field goal in the final 5:23 of the quarter, its only points coming on Durant’s four field goals.

But the Suns never got any closer.

Durant opened the fourth quarter with a fastbreak layup, sank a 19-footer, then followed with a 3-pointer and the Thunder led 79-72. Westbrook’s 3-pointer put Oklahoma City up 87-77 with 4:49 to play, then Durant put on a final show.

He sank a 3-pointer, followed with a 19-footer, then scored on a layup. The spectacular finish came on Oklahoma City’s next possession when he drove the lane and soared over Gortat for the dunk. Gortat fouled him on the play and Durant made the free throw to put the Thunder up 97-81 with 2:23 to play.

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