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December 9, 2013

Thunder throttle the Pacers

Durant outscores George in battle of MVP contenders

OKLAHOMA CITY — Coming to the end of a five-game road trip, the Indiana Pacers were looking to close it out with a bang. Taking on Oklahoma City in their own court qualified as the bang they were looking for.

However, the Pacers ran head on into a buzzsaw. Looking to prove themselves against the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Thunder pummeled the Indy 118-94 Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The 118 points was the most the Pacers have surrendered since Jan. 4, 2012 against Miami.

For the Thunder, the win provided even more proof they are still one of the elite teams in the NBA.

"It was good,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said. “For us it brings a lot of self awareness. We know that we can play with the best of them. I think tonight we did a good job of just playing our game.

“We play like that, there aren’t too many teams that can beat us but ourselves.”

Forward Kevin Durant scored 36 points, shot 14-of-23 from the field, collected 10 rebounds and added five assists for Oklahoma City. Westbrook came up short of a triple double with 26 points,

seven rebounds and 13 assists.

“We actually came out tonight with the intention to play stat-free basketball,” Kendrick Perkins said. “And guys still ended up with pretty decent numbers. When you do things the right way, things pretty much fall into place. When you try too hard, that’s when things don’t look too right, things don’t go well for the team. But when you do what you’re supposed to do, things fall in place they way they’re supposed to fall in place.”

Guard Paul George fought to keep the Pacers competitive as he scored a team-high 32 points on 9-for-17 shooting. Center Roy Hibbert added 12 points and nine rebounds. However, the NBA’s leading shot-blocker ended the night with zero blocks.

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