By Michael Kinney
OKLAHOMA CITY– The Oklahoma City Thunder have made it a habit of making late runs this season. Several times they have come back from large double digits deficits to make games of ones that were blowouts.
The Thunder found themselves in the same predicament Sunday night with the Brooklyn Nets in town. Unfortunately, after making a late run the home team fell 120-96 at Paycom Center.
The loss ended Oklahoma City’s four game win streak and drops them to 5-7 on the season. The Brooklyn Nets, who are still without Kyrie Irving, improved to 10-4.
After trailing by as much as 18 points, Oklahoma City put forth another run in the fourth quarter. With just over six minutes left on the clock, they were only down 10 points.
But that would be as close as Oklahoma City would get. Kevin Durant scored the next four points to get the Nets back in sync. That started a 12-2 run for Brooklyn and they led 113-93 with 2:43 left.
That was enough to put the contest away and close out the night.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 23 points and six rebounds. Lu Dort added 20 points while Ty Jerome came off the bench to chip in with 11 points.
“He has been aggressive on the drives, he’s done a nice job playing in the drive and kick game when the ball gets sprayed to him, reading the close outs and either hitting the paint or shooting the three,” said OKC coach Mark Daigneault said of Dort. “We need him to be aggressive.”
Durant led all scorers with 33 points to go along with 8 rebounds and four assists. James Harden added 16 points, 13 assists and six boards. Patty Mills hit a career-high nine 3-pointers off the bench for the Nets.
Oklahoma City returns to action Monday night when they host the Miami Heat at 7 p.m.
“It’s just one of those nights. This team’s been so good at competing and responding, and we just couldn’t get the fire lit tonight,” Daigneault said. “We can learn from them. But we have a quick turnaround here, and obviously need to be better.”