By Michael Marot
The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS — Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook refused to let anyone celebrate at their expense Friday night.
Even if Indiana was playing on its home court with a division title at stake.
Durant overcame a bruised left calf to finish with 34 points and nine rebounds, while Westbrook had 24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in a 97-75 blowout that sent Oklahoma City into a tie with San Antonio for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
“It’s one of those things that it’s great that it’s happened, but we’re not focusing on it,” coach Scott Brooks said of the top seed. “We just want to continue to play good basketball and hopefully we continue to do that. It’s a great opportunity for us.”
This has already been a big week for Oklahoma City (56-20), which has won three straight and six of its past seven.
And things don’t get much more impressive than what they’ve done over the past two days.
On Thursday night, Durant & Co. took down the Spurs 100-88 then flew to Indy.
Less than 16 hours after arriving at the team hotel, the Thunder handed the Central Division leaders their worst home loss of the season — and on a night the city was poised to celebrate Indiana’s first division crown in nine seasons.
Now Oklahoma City takes a one-day break before hosting New York on Sunday afternoon.
It closes the season with only two of its final five games against teams that were in position to make the playoffs heading into Friday night — Golden State and Milwaukee — and with a chance to earn the coveted top spot in the West.
Not surprisingly, Durant has been the key.
After limping to the locker room at halftime when he got kicked in the calf, the three-time NBA scoring champ returned in the second half to score 22 points on 9 of 13 shooting, almost single-handedly pushing Oklahoma City on every big scoring charge.
“It’s always tough playing back-to-backs no matter what, especially home and away,” said Durant, who leads the league in scoring.
“We played a tough, tough team last night and then playing a team that plays so hard, plays so well in this building, you know it’s going to be tough. So we just wanted to come out and play hard for 48 minutes tonight and we’ll rest up tomorrow.”
The Thunder wound up beating Indiana at its own game.
They dominated the Pacers (48-28) on the glass 53-31 and outplayed the NBA’s best defensive team.
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