MINNEAPOLIS – Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and the Minnesota Timberwolves were ganging up on Kevin Durant, and a rare three-game losing streak for the Oklahoma City Thunder was just over the horizon.
Durant’s sidekick was on the bench in street clothes, leaving him on an island again. Frustrated from a poor start, Durant came out swinging in the fourth quarter and knocked the Timberwolves out with a fury.
Barking at and mean-mugging the feisty Wolves, Durant scored 23 of his season-high 48 points in the fourth quarter and hit the winner with 4 seconds to play to rally the Thunder from 13 points down to a 115-111 victory on Saturday night.
“I just hear a lot of stuff and I just wanted to come through for my team in the fourth quarter,” Durant said, an apparent shot at some trash talk he heard from the Wolves’ bench.
Durant went 7-for-11 from the field and hit four 3-pointers in the final quarter to help the Thunder rebound from two straight losses at home.
Love played the entire second half and finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds and five assists for the Wolves. But he missed four free throws in the final 27 seconds to let this one slip away. The last three came when he was fouled on a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds to go and the Wolves down two.
After Durant hit a step-back jumper from 6 meters right over Dante Cunningham’s outstretched arm to give the Thunder a 113-111 lead, Love was fouled on a 3-pointer by Kendrick Perkins. Perhaps a little gassed from the work load, Love missed the first two free throws and his on-purpose miss on the third one didn’t hit the rim, giving Oklahoma City the ball.
“I was more upset about the first one I missed,” Love said. “I left it short. I think they were flat and short. There was no real air under them. Just missed them.”
Durant knocked down two more free throws, and the two stars embraced after the final horn, a thrilling duel just finished.
Derek Fisher scored 13 points, and Serge Ibaka had 12 points for Oklahoma City, which outscored Minnesota’s bench 40-5.
Pekovic had 31 points and 11 rebounds, and Ricky Rubio had 13 points, 10 assists and five steals, but missed six of his final seven shots. Spurs 116, Clippers 92
In San Antonio, Tiago Splitter had 22 points before leaving with a right shoulder injury, Tim Duncan added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and the Spurs beat Los Angeles in the Clippers’ first game without injured All-Star Chris Paul. Heat 110, Magic 94
In Orlando, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each had 20 points, helping Miami rally for the win over the Magic. Pacers 99, Pelicans 82
In Indianapolis, Paul George had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead four Pacers in double figures, and Indiana rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit for the victory over New Orleans. Nets 89, Cavaliers 82
In New York, Deron Williams scored 21 points for Brooklyn, and Paul Pierce added 17 while moving past Allen Iverson into 19th place on the NBA’s career scoring list. Bulls 91, Hawks 84
In Chicago, Mike Dunleavy scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Bulls to their fifth win in seven games. Suns 116, Bucks 100
In Phoenix, Gerald Green had 24 points and a career-high five steals starting in place of the injured Eric Bledsoe, pushing the Suns to the victory. Bobcats 113, Kings 103
In Sacramento, Kemba Walker scored 30 points, Al Jefferson had a season-high 27 and Charlotte snapped a season-high five-game losing streak with a win over the Kings. 76ers 101, Trail Blazers 99
In Portland, Thaddeus Young matched his season-high with 30 points and Philadelphia held off a furious late rally for the win.