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Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012

Thunder claim third win in as many nights


OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder became the first team to win three games in three nights during the NBA's condensed schedule this season, and they managed to make it look easy.

News photo
Bear trap: Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo attempts a shot between Lakers defenders Pau Gasol (left) and Andrew Bynum on Sunday in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 90-82. AP

Kevin Durant had 21 points and 10 rebounds, reserve James Harden scored 20 and the Thunder rested their starters throughout the fourth quarter in a 108-96 victory against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

"I just think the big thing was not to dwell on it and not make too much out of it. It's not sometimes as bad as people think," said Nick Collison, who had his first double-double by recording season bests of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

"I'm glad it happened earlier in the year. I think that was a positive but I think we all felt fine."

The Thunder were also able to rest their starters throughout the fourth quarter on the front end of the back-to-back-to-back after leading Houston by 21 through three.

This time, they outscored San Antonio 37-21 in the third to build a 22-point cushion.

"I knew our guys were going to compete and they were going to give everything they had for the three games. You were hoping that you could win them all," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.

"Fortunately for us, we did."

The Spurs, already without Manu Ginobili because of a broken left hand, played without point guard Tony Parker after he came out of the game and walked to locker room midway through the third quarter. He returned to the bench a few minutes later, and a team spokesman said Parker was fine and could have played.

DeJuan Blair also pulled himself from the game after he cramped up just after halftime. He didn't come back either.

Gary Neal, who scored a team-high 18 points, would not let their absences be an excuse.

"I just think a couple turnovers here, and their athletes were able to get out and run the lane, and the score ballooned on us," Neal said.

Lakers 90, Grizzlies 82

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Andrew Bynum had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and the Lakers beat Memphis for their sixth consecutive home victory.

Matt Barnes scored 15 points and Pau Gasol had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won six of eight after an 0-2 start despite playing the NBA's busiest early-season schedule, matching Oklahoma City with 10 games in the first 15 days.

Although they haven't lost at Staples Center since their season opener on Christmas, the Lakers committed a season-high 27 turnovers and never pulled away from the injury-depleted Grizzlies. Memphis had beaten Los Angeles in two of the last three meetings, including a 19-point blowout in the Grizzlies' last trip to Staples.

Magic 104, Kings 97

In Sacramento, Jason Richardson scored a season-high 22 points, Glen Davis added a season-best 20 and Orlando beat the Kings despite playing much of the game without foul-plagued Dwight Howard.

The All-Star center had five points and four rebounds in 20 minutes and spent most of the first three quarters in foul trouble. He didn't get his first rebound until 4 minutes into the fourth and was scoreless before converting a three-point play with 6:35 remaining, putting the Magic ahead 87-85.

Tyreke Evans had a season-high 28 points and eight assists for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins, also hampered by fouls, had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Timberwolves 93, Wizards 72

In Washington, Kevin Love had 20 points and 16 rebounds and Ricky Rubio had 13 points and a career-high 14 assists to lead Minnesota past the winless Wizards.

Rubio also grabbed six rebounds and controlled the game during much of his 30 minutes off the bench. He entered with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter and quickly hit a 22-foot jumper to start a 17-2 run that gave Minnesota the lead for good.

Suns 109, Bucks 93

In Phoenix, Steve Nash had 17 assists and 10 points in 27 minutes as the Suns routed the weary Bucks.

The Suns beat the Bucks in Phoenix for the 24th straight time, the NBA's second-longest active streak behind San Antonio's 27 wins in a row at home over Golden State.

Trail Blazers 98, Cavaliers 78

In Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and eight rebounds, and the Trail Blazers got off to a slow start but pulled away to beat Cleveland.

Wesley Matthews added 24 points for the Trail Blazers, who led by as many as 24.

Kyrie Irving, the top pick in last June's NBA draft, had 21 points — 11 in the third quarter. Antawn Jamison, who was Cleveland's top scorer going into the game, made a 3-pointer for his only basket of the game.

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