MIAMI – Down by 18 points midway through the opening quarter, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder looked well on their way to witnessing a rout.
That’s exactly what happened.
And they enjoyed every moment.
Durant remained sizzling with 33 points, Serge Ibaka added 22 and the Thunder roared back from an abysmal start — they trailed 22-4 early — to embarrass the Miami Heat 112-95 on Wednesday night, erasing that big deficit out of the gate by outscoring the two-time defending champions by 43 points over a 33-minute span.
“They were ready for us to come in and play,” Durant said. “They hit some tough shots early on, a few 3’s, and we didn’t panic. We just tried to stay together and that’s what we did. Our bench was great in getting us back in that game.”
The Thunder led by as many as 25, and shot 16 for 27 from 3-point range. Miami was 3 for 19 from beyond the arc.
Durant has now scored at least 30 points in 12 straight games, matching the league’s longest such streak since Tracy McGrady did it in 14 consecutive outings in the 2002-03 season. The Thunder extended their winning streak to nine, inching them closer to Indiana in the race for the league’s best record. And the Oklahoma City bench outscored Miami’s reserves 39-21, with Jeremy Lamb scoring 18 and Derek Fisher going 5 for 5 from 3-point range for his 15 points.
“There’s no running away from it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Other than the first eight minutes of the game they outclassed us tonight. They absolutely deserved this win.”
LeBron James scored 34 points for Miami, his 1-on-1 duel with Durant not really amounting to much on a night where the Heat allowed 25 points off turnovers and blew an 18-point lead for just the fourth time since he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh became teammates nearly four years ago.
Bosh scored 18 points and Wade added 15 for Miami.
“We played well to start the game,” James said. “We played well all the way until like the second quarter. From that point on they did what they want to do.”
Bulls 96, Spurs 86
In San Antonio, Jimmy Butler had 19 points and Carlos Boozer added 16 points and 12 rebounds.
D.J. Augustin and Taj Gibson added 15 points each and Joakim Noah had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago.
76ers 95, Celtics 94
In Boston, Evan Turner sank a layup at the buzzer to lift Philadelphia over the Celtics.
Suns 126, Bucks 117
In Milwaukee, Goran Dragic scored 30 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter despite sustaining an apparent injury to his left elbow.
Timberwolves 88, Pelicans 77
In Minneapolis, Kevin Love had 30 points and 14 rebounds to finally carry Minnesota over the .500 mark.
Raptors 98, Magic 83
In Toronto, Kyle Lowry had a season-high 33 points and 11 assists, and Amir Johnson had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Raptors past Orlando.
Rockets 117, Mavericks 115
In Dallas, Chandler Parsons scored 26 points and Houston knocked off a Texas rival for the second straight day without James Harden.
Bobcats 101, Nuggets 98
In Denver, Al Jefferson matched a season high with 35 points, including a key basket in the final seconds.
Grizzlies 99, Kings 89
In Sacramento, Mike Conley had 27 points and 10 assists as Memphis won its fourth straight.
Clippers 110, Wizards 103
In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin led five players in double figures with 29 points as the Clippers won their fourth straight.
Pistons at Hawks — ppd.