OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant drained three 3-pointers in 75 seconds. And when the crowd wanted even more, the NBA’s leading scorer responded.
Durant poured in a career-high 54 points in an incredibly efficient performance, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors 127-121 on Friday.
The 206-cm forward had 11 points during one two-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, powering the Thunder to a 17-point lead. With the crowd of 18,203 chanting “MVP! MVP!” he made two foul shots with 2:45 remaining to establish a new career-best scoring total.
“When you’ve got it going, I look at the bench and see how my teammates are reacting, and that just gives me an extra push,” Durant said. “Then, I hear the fans.”
Durant made 19 of 28 field goals and 11 of 13 free throws in his third straight game with at least 36 points.
“As a leader, my main objective is to serve my teammates, help them out,” said Durant, who had 15 fourth-quarter points. “Some nights, I’ve got to put it up, I’ve got to score. Some nights, I’ve got to do other things. Tonight, they found me and I was able to hit a few shots.”
It was the kind of performance that gets fans fired up about postseason awards in mid-January.
Serge Ibaka had 21 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma City (30-10), which won for the third time in four games.
Stephen Curry had 37 points and 11 assists, and Klay Thompson added 26 points for the Warriors (25-16), who shot 52 percent but simply couldn’t match up with Durant.
Heat 101, Sixers 86
In Philadelphia, LeBron James had 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Miami snapped a three-game losing streak.
Lakers 107, Celtics 104
In Boston, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, sidelined since last January with a knee injury, returned from his long layoff and missed a 3-pointer that could have sent the game into overtime.
Trail Blazers 109, Spurs 100
In San Antonio, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 13 boards.
Clippers 109, Knicks 95
In New York, Blake Griffin scored 32 points to lead Los Angeles.
Jazz 110, Pistons 89
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Trey Burke had 20 points and 12 assists.
Grizzlies 91, Kings 90
In Memphis, Mike Conley had 25 points and six assists for the hosts.
Mavericks 110, Suns 107
In Phoenix, Dallas rookie Shane Larkin scored a career-high 18 points against the Suns.
Raptors 94, T-Wolves 89
In Toronto, Kyle Lowry scored 24 points to spark the Raptors.
Cavaliers 117, Nuggets 109
In Denver, Kyrie Irving had a 23-point effort for Cleveland.
Wizards 96, Bulls 93
In Washington, John Wall scored 23 points and dished out 11 assists.
Bobcats 111, Magic 101
In Orlando, Al Jefferson had 30 points and 16 boards.