By Jay Betsill
It was an up and down week for the Oklahoma City Thunder as they snapped the San Antonio Spurs 19-game winning streak at home before heading on the road to drop two straight to the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns.
In their fourth meeting of the season with the Western Conference-leading Spurs, the Thunder came out on top for the fourth time with a 106-94 win behind 28 points from Kevin Durant and 27 points from Russell Westbrook. Of the games in the Thunder’s season sweep, this was the largest margin of victory.
“That’s a big thing,” Westbrook said. “When you have a team that’s a good basketball team — they’re the No. 1 team in the West, and we want to be the best team, you’ve got to beat the best. I think we did a great job of that tonight.”
Center Kendrick Perkins returned to action against the Spurs after missing 17 games due to a groin injury.
The very next night, the Thunder found themselves in Houston against former Oklahoma City guard James Harden and the Rockets. Harden would lead the way with 39 points to clinch a playoff berth for Houston in a 111-107 win over the Thunder. Houston was playing without starting center Dwight Howard because of a left ankle strain.
“It was a great win for us … just to give ourselves confidence, especially going into the playoffs,” Harden said. “We might see them. It was a big win for us. It shows the resilience we have.”
Sunday evening, the Thunder visited the Suns and Durant would score 38 points for his 41st game in row of at least 25 points. While he passed Micheal Jordan’s 40-game streak, Durant’s team came out on the short of a 122-115 score. Phoenix is battling with the Warriors, Mavericks and Grizzlies for the final three playoff slots while the Thunder remain a game ahead of the Clippers for the No. 2 seed in the west.
“Everybody is trying to win at this point,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “It was a good test for us and one that these guys passed.”
Oklahoma City has six regular season games remaining with the next two on the west coast at Sacramento on Tuesday and at the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday before returning home to take on New Orleans on Friday night.
The Thunder are currently 55-21 and 4.5 games behind the Spurs for first place in the West.
4/8 @Kings 9:00 p.m.
4/9 @Clippers 9:30 p.m.
4/11 vs Pelicans 7:00 p.m.
4/13 @ Pacers 12:00 p.m.