Thunder 108, Kings 102
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)
Even with his vision a bit impaired following a third-quarter elbow to the eye that required six stitches, Russell Westbrook managed to take over the game in the fourth quarter for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points and eight rebounds, it was Westbrook making the difference when it counted most, scoring 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to help Oklahoma City beat the Sacramento Kings 108-102 on Sunday night.
A point guard with speed and quickness, Westbrook left the court early in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the right eye by Kings forward Carl Landry. He was stitched up by the Kings' medical staff, and came out late in the third quarter and quickly entered the game and scored four points.
With Durant shooting just 1 for 5 in the fourth, the burden fell to Westbrook and he produced. Westbrook made 4 of 8 shots, 5 of 6 free throws, and added four rebounds and two assists. Not bad for a guy, who said he had a slight problem seeing out of his right eye.
``I came out aggressive and was trying to help us pull out this victory,'' said Westbrook, who had eight rebounds and four assists. ``When it's time for me to help my teammates out, I will.''
Westbrook has become an emerging offensive force in his second season.
``He's so quick, athletic and strong, and has a lot of moves,'' Durant said. ``He does a great job of getting to the rim.''
The road victory was the seventh in nine games for the Thunder, who are 3-1 against the Kings this season.
Oklahoma City had three technical fouls. Tyreke Evans had one technical for the Kings and Andres Nocioni picked up a flagrant foul.
``We're a young team and they're a young team, we know those guys over there,'' said Durant, who picked up his second technical of the season. ``It was all competitive nature, nothing more than that.''
The Kings have lost two straight and three of four in falling to 15-15 this season at home.
Vowing to rebound better after a poor effort in Tuesday's loss at Oklahoma City, the Kings fared just as poorly. The Thunder outrebounded them 45-33.
``We played them good, but they really killed us in the rebounding,'' Evans said. ``They got us on the glass and were able to get second opportunities. That's what hurt us.''
James Harden scored all 14 of his points in the first half, while Jeff Green added 12 points for the Thunder, who have won two straight and five of six.
Garcia made a 3-pointer to pull the Kings within 106-102 with 39 seconds left.
After Beno Udrih's 3-pointer cut the lead to 98-96, Durant scored on a short baseline jumper and Nick Collison dunked off a fastbreak to put the Thunder ahead 102-96 with 2:17 remaining.
The Thunder (38-24) are 14-3 since a loss at Cleveland on Jan. 23. Last season, Oklahoma City began the season 1-12 and finished with 23 wins.
``We haven't thought much about last year,'' Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ``We have a day-by-day mentality. It's been a good ride so far.''
With Durant coming out aggressive in the third quarter, the Thunder built their lead to 11 points. But with Landry scoring inside and Evans hitting from the perimeter, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Kings closed the gap to 81-79 heading into the fourth.
``They are where we want to be and we want to get there sooner than later,'' Kings coach Paul Westphal said. ``As long as we keep striving to improve I think we have a really good nucleus here and we keep bouncing back.''
Durant scored 16 points and Harden came off the bench for 14 to help the Thunder lead 57-52 at the half. Landry scored 11 points for the Kings.
Notes: Green drew a technical foul in the second quarter after slamming the ball to the floor after picking up his third foul. ... The Kings gave Omri Casspi the night off, deactivating the rookie, who was shooting 38 percent in his past seven games. ... Thompson came off the bench after missing the previous five games with a lower-back injury suffered in a Feb. 23 fall against Detroit.