Portland snap San Antonio’s winning streak.
There were 12 games on the NBA schedule on Friday night, but it was Kevin Durant who stole the show as he helped himself to 54 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s win over the Golden State Warriors.
The Thunder have been struggling in recent weeks since point guard Russell Westbrook has been sidelined, with Durant insisting that he must do a better job of getting his team-mates involved.
However, there was no need on Friday night as he scored a career-high on an incredibly efficient scoring performance where he went 19-of-28 from the field as he is now averaging nine more points per game since Westbrook went down 12 games ago.
“When you’ve got it going, I look at the bench and see how my teammates are reacting, and that just gives me an extra push,” Durant said, according to ESPN. “Then, I hear the fans.”
Serge Ibaka had 21 points and eight rebounds while Reggie Jackson added 14 as the Thunder won for the third time in four games to move to 30-10 for the season.
Stephen Curry had 37 points and 11 assists while Klay Thompson supported him with 26 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Warriors who slip to 25-16 as they couldn’t stop Durant.
Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers ended a six-game winning streak of the San Antonio Spurs with a 109-100 win at the AT&T Center.
LaMarcus Aldridge ended the game with 26 points and 13 rebounds and Wesley Matthews had 24 points as they held off a second-half rally from the hosts.
Damian Lillard had 21 points and eight assists, as coach Terry Stotts praised his players’ resolve in beating the best team in the West on their home court.
Manu Ginobili responded with a season-high 29 points but despite a host of teammates getting into double figures, it wasn’t enough to prevent just a sixth loss at home this season.
San Antonio remain at the top in the Western Conference at 31-9, and after being ejected from the game, coach Gregg Popovich insisted that the team are fully aware of their record against elite teams having now gone 1-8 against the West’s remaining top-five teams and the best in the East in the Pacers.
“No, we don’t ignore anything,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s like when we started the season the first thing we did was watch Game 6 in Miami (of the NBA Finals, which the Spurs lost in overtime). We look everything square in the eye and talk about what we need to do”
Over in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat snapped a three-game losing streak with a dominant win over the Philadelphia 76ers with Chris Bosh scoring a team-high 26 points as LeBron James added 21 points and 10 assists.
The New York Knicks fell to defeat against the Los Angeles Clippers while Rajon Rondo’s comeback for the Boston Celtics was ruined by defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rondo had eight points and four assists in 19 minutes of action, but he did miss a late three which could have taken the game into overtime.
Los Angeles Clippers 109-95 New York Knicks
Charlotte Bobcats 111-101 Orlando Magic
Miami Heat 101-86 Philadelphia 76ers
Minnesota Timberwolves 89-94 Toronto Raptors
Chicago Bulls 93-96 Washington Wizards
Los Angeles Lakers 107-104 Boston Celtics
Utah Jazz 110-89 Detroit Pistons
Sacramento Kings 90-91 Memphis Grizzlies
Portland Trail Blazers 109-100 San Antonio Spurs
Cleveland Cavaliers 117-109 Denver Nuggets
Dallas Mavericks 110-107 Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors 121-127 Oklahoma City Thunder