New York: Oklahoma City’s high-octane attack has powered the team to the best record in the NBA, but it was defence that got the job done on Sunday as the Thunder rolled to their eighth straight win, a 104-93 victory over the visiting Indiana Pacers.
Oklahoma City, who came into the game averaging more than 106 points, trailed the Pacers by four midway through the third quarter before seizing the momentum with a 17-3 run.
“We really got after it on defence in the second half,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks told reporters. “We made them take tough shots in the third and fourth quarters and made them miss.”
Kevin Durant scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, while reserve Kevin Martin added 24 for the Thunder, who are tied with San Antonio at the top of the Western Conference with a record of 17-4.
David West had 21 points for the Pacers (10-11), who saw all of their starters reach double figures scoring.
With last season’s leading scorer Danny Granger sidelined with a knee injury, Indiana averaged less than 91 points per game coming into Sunday’s contest, which is last in the NBA.
The Pacers managed to stay close before Oklahoma City kicked things into another gear.
Durant began the game making just four of 17 shots but missed only two of his last seven.
Indiana pulled to 94-91 in the fourth quarter but the Thunder netted a couple quick baskets and Russell Westbrook made a big block on Roy Hibbert to quell the Pacers.
“Plays like that can change the whole momentum of a game, and that was one of those plays” Westbrook said.
Westbrook chipped in 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the defending Western Conference champions, who were coming off an impressive win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.