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November 10, 2012

Thunder pull away from Pistons

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant was not happy. Even though his Oklahoma City squad defeated Detroit 105-94, he was not impressed with the way the defending Western Conference Champions played in front of their home crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“It could be a lot better,” Durant said. “I’m never satisfied. It’s a long season and an up-and-down season, I know, but we can do better. We have to find a way to do for 48 minutes as far as the energy is concerned. That starts with me. I have to be better. That goes down the line. If I come in with a great mindset, then hopefully the team follows.”

Before the game, Pistons’ coach Lawrence Frank wanted to see how his team responded in the moment of truth. He wanted to see what it would do if it was down by six with under 6 minutes left in the game against one of the heavyweight teams in the NBA.

Unfortunately for the Pistons, the Thunder (4-2) didn’t let them get to that moment. Holding a five-point lead to start the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City pushed it into double digits before the 6-minute mark rolled around. It outscored Detroit 31-25 in the period.

“The effort our guys gave was tremendous,” Frank said. “The game came down to the second and fourth quarters in a sense. Turnovers for us, our inability to finish at the rim at crucial times.”

Serge Ibaka scored a career high 25 points to lead the Thunder. His previous high was 22.

Durant had 13 rebounds and 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting. But more importantly, he had only two turnovers, three below his season average.

Andre Drummond paced Detroit with 22 points.

The only person to score for the Thunder in the first 5 minutes of the game was Ibaka.

Detroit (0-6) took an early lead as it got balanced scoring from Prince, Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey. It held a 19-18 lead after one quarter of action.

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