Kevin Durant is enjoying one of the hottest stretches in NBA history, but the Atlanta Hawks didn’t enjoy his brilliance so much.
Durant scored 30 or more points for the 11th consecutive game, adding a game-winning jump shot with 1.5 seconds to play for good measure. Oklahoma City edged the Hawks 111-109 in a game that epitomized Durant’s dominance.
He scored 41 points in leading OKC from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter.
”I know we play a lot of games and a lot of people say January doesn’t mean anything,” Durant said. ”But when you’re playing this game with your heart and passion like we do, sometimes you’ve got to sit back and just enjoy it.”
Durant scored 13 in the fourth quarter, including a 16-foot, step-back jumper with 25.5 seconds remaining that put the Thunder ahead for the first time since the opening 2 minutes. Paul Milsap tied it for Atlanta before Durant knocked down the decisive 12-footer while being guarded by DeMarre Carroll.
”Coach just drew it out for me and I had to make a play,” Durant said. ”It was an emotional game. It was up and down the whole game. My emotions were everywhere, so I just had to try to keep it together at the end of the game and make a play for my team.”
Shelvin Mack tried to throw a pass to Millsap on the final play, but Thabo Sefolosha knocked it away. Millsap scored 23 points to lead the Hawks, who managed only one basket and two points in the final 3:50.
Oklahoma City is 6-0 at home this season when trailing going into the fourth quarter.
”I think that’s a direct result from the competitive spirit we have,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
Durant’s 11-game streak of 30 or more points is the longest in the NBA since Tracy McGrady did it in 14 straight games in March and April 2003.
”He just hit some tough shots,” Carroll said. ”The shots were contested and he hit them. I just think we really lost the game on our own. We missed two open threes. We got the shots that we wanted. We just missed them. We’ve got to learn from that but it was a hard-fought game.”