Kevin Durant scored 18 of 27 points for OKC in the fourth quarter to help the Thunder hand the Hawks a 100-92 loss in Atlanta Wednesday night, extending their winning streak to 12 straight games overall.
Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 68 points in the game but it was KD who led the charge with a season-high 41 points and 13 rebounds. Westbrook added a double-double with 27 points and 11 assists. No other OKC player reached double-figures.
Josh Smith posted a double-double for the Hawks with 17 points and 12 rebounds but was 8-of-19 shooting in the game. He continues the trend of jacking up 3-pointers, hitting just one-of-four against the Thunder, and was an uncanny 0-3 from the free-throw line.
Jeff Teague was the bright spot for Atlanta on a rather gloomy offensive night as the point guard scored a team-high 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while dishing out nine assists. Teague did a terrific job all night long of getting to the cup on a consistent basis and not settling for those long jumpers.
Al Hoford and Lou Williams combined for 26 points on 10-of-29 shooting, with each player scoring 13 points apiece.
Who?: Atlanta Hawks vs Oklahoma City Thunder
What?: Thunder win 12th straight game, hand Hawks 100-92 defeat
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
When?: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
How?: KD scores season-high
The Atlanta Hawks got out to a slow start offensively, going into halftime down 14. An improved performance from Jeff Teague, Lou Williams and Anthony Tolliver were not enough to snatch victory in the second half and the Hawks fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-92.
Kevin Durant looked like an MVP, draining step back three pointers on every defender that was thrown at him. DeShawn Stevenson started out across from him, and all of Josh Smith, Anthony Tolliver and Kyle Korver had their shot to slow him down in the second half, but none could. Durant was 10-16 for 28 points and also pulled in 10 rebounds in the second half alone. He proved he certainly was a matchup nightmare, finishing with 41 points and 13 rebounds.
Russell Westbrook had the hot hand in the first half, however, scoring 21 points on 13 shots. Overall, Westbrook and Durant combined for 68 points by themselves.
Larry Drew had to tinker with the rotation while Devin Harris nursed a sore left foot. John Jenkins saw time in the second quarter as Anthony Tolliver did in the second half. Tolliver got to the bucket a few times for free throws and ended up with 6 points. Lou Williams could not find his game through the first three quarters, with goose eggs in all categories except for a two point bucket in seven tries in the third. He did have 11 points including 3 three pointers and an assist in the fourth to make a game out of it but it was too little too late.
The slow start offensively has been a continuation of a disappointing trend, considering the talent the team possesses. The Hawks shot 37.4% in the first half while giving up 50% shooting to the opposition and put themselves in a hole they could not climb out of. The bench of Anthony Morrow, Williams, Zaza Pachulia, Ivan Johnson and John Jenkins combined for 3-15 shooting in that half, compared to the Thunder’s 7-12 from Kevin Martin, Nick Collison, Hasheem Thabeet, Jeremy Lamb and Eric Maynor, which only aided to the lead the Thunder held for almost the entire game.
Hawks fans should be encouraged to see an aggressive Jeff Teague, who got to the rack numerous times for 19 points on just 13 shots. Tolliver was certainly a boost in the second half as were Kyle Korver’s 5 boards, 4 steals and 3 blocks. However, the Hawks cannot lose the rebounding margin like they did tonight, 52-44, and must have a more consistant offensive performance from both units, starters and bench members, if they want to be competitive with top shelf teams.
Next game is Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers in Well Fargo Arena.
Minutes: Josh Smith (42)
Points: Kevin Durant (41)
Rebounds: Serge Ibaka (14)
Assists: Russell Westbrook (11)
Steals: Kyle Korver (4)
Blocks: Serge Ibaka & Kyle Kover (3)
Game Grades: Each player is given a grade on an A+ through F scale based upon their game performance.
Jeff Teague: A (Player of the game)
It’s nice to see Teague finally break this sub-par groove he’s been in. He finished with 19 points on 9-13 shooting and had nine assists with only one turnover. He let Russell Wesbrook be a jump shooter, so I consider that solid defense as well.
Kyle Korver: B
Four steals and three blocked shots. I’m still trying to grasp that too.
DeShawn Stevenson: D
Allow me to reiterate the fact Kevin Durant is good at basketball. So it’s not that the effort wasn’t there by Stevenson, because it was. But 41 points. He did manage to notch two steals on the night, although he missed all three of his field goal attempts.
Josh Smith: B+
I’m not going to get into the fact Smith continues to launch threes. It’s been overstated and it’s clearly not going to change. Regardless, he basically had your run-of-the-mill Josh Smith night, which is obviously still pretty great. He finished with 17 points on 8-19 shooting, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots.
Al Horford: C
After such a stellar start to the season, Horford has hit a major shooting slump. Major. Fortunately, he did managed to knock down about half of his attempts outside of the paint. He still pretty on a pretty dreadful shooting display. Finishing on 5-14 shooting for 13 points he finished with six rebounds and three steals. Stop looking for anything impressive, it’s not there. The three steals are kind of nice, I suppose.
Lou Williams: C
High volume, mediocre results. That’s been the trend lately for Williams. He had more field goals than points, finishing with 13 points on 5-15 shooting. Although he did shoot 3-5 from deep and tallied two steals. It’s really just another performance to have mixed emotions over.
Zaza Pachulia: B+
10 rebounds in 18 minutes typically equals great night in my book, especially when five of those boards happen to be offensive.
Plays of the Game
Player of the Game
Kevin Durant scored a season-high 41 points Wednesday and scored 13 of his points in transition, also a season-high. Durant had his fifth-worst shooting performance of the season (7-17) in the Thunder’s first game against the Hawks this season, a 104-95 loss on November 4.
– ESPN Stats & Information
The Hawks go on the road to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, Dec. 21, at 7:00 PM (ET)