Kevin Durant scored 27 points, Kevin Martin added 24 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Indiana Pacers 104-93 on Sunday night for their eighth straight win.
A meeting of the NBA’s highest-scoring offense and the league’s stingiest defense went the Thunder’s way as they eclipsed 100 points for the 12th straight game.
Of course, Oklahoma City boasts the NBA’s second-best defense to go with all that offensive firepower. Russell Westbrook added 21 points and came up with a big block against 2.2m center Roy Hibbert — 28cm taller than him — during a late 8-0 burst by the Thunder that put it away after the Pacers had pulled within three.
David West had 21 points for Indiana, which had all five starters score in double figures.
KNICKS 112, NUGGETS 106
In New York, Carmelo Anthony returned from a two-game absence with 34 points against his former team.
Back in the starting lineup after missing two games with a cut on the middle finger of his left hand that required stitches, Anthony twice made baskets in the final 2:08 after Denver had pulled within four points.
Jason Kidd scored 17 points for the Knicks, who bounced back from their worst offensive performance of the season a night earlier in Chicago and improved to 8-0 at Madison Square Garden. Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith each had 15 points.
JAZZ 117, LAKERS 110
In Los Angeles, Paul Millsap scored 24 points, Mo Williams added 22 and Utah won its third straight.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 34 points, making 12 of 14 free throws, as they fell to 4-7 in their last 11 games.
Al Jefferson and reserves Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter added 14 points each for the Jazz, which improved to 4-9 on the road in ending a two-game skid away from home.
The Lakers never led in the second half while losing their second in a row. They trailed by three to start the fourth quarter only to get outscored 20-8 and fall behind by 15. Hayward had seven points and Kanter six in Utah’s spurt.
MAGIC 98, SUNS 90
In Phoenix, Arizona, rookie Andrew Nicholson scored nine of his career-high 19 points in the fourth quarter and Orlando handed Phoenix its seventh straight loss.
Nicholson made nine of 11 shots and grabbed nine rebounds, also the best of his young career.
J.J. Redick scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half for the Magic in the final stop of their five-game road trip.
Shannon Brown scored 17 and Jared Dudley 15 for the Suns, who were without starting point guard Goran Dragic due to illness.
Phoenix’s losing streak is its longest since 2004.
BUCKS 97, NETS 88
In New York, Brandon Jennings scored 26 points, Monta Ellis had 24 points and Milwaukee withstood Brooklyn’s fourth-quarter rally.
The Bucks led by 29 points with 6:59 left in the third quarter, but the Nets got within six after Deron Williams found Kris Humphries open for an uncontested dunk.
Ellis’ layup then made it 87-79 before the Nets called a timeout with 2:24 left in regulation. On the ensuing play, Gerald Wallace lost his balance and the ball and Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders made a reverse layup to extend the Bucks’ lead to 10 points. MarShon Brooks, who scored 14 points, then hit a three-pointer to bring the Nets within seven, but Marquis Daniels’ hit a three-pointer to put the game out of reach.
Williams had 18 points and eight assists and Wallace added 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Nets.