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Monday, April 16, 2012

Durant, Westbrook put T-Wolves to the sword


MINNEAPOLIS — At one point during the fourth quarter, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman was so desperate to stop Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook that he put 211-cm Anthony Randolph on the Oklahoma City Thunder's star point guard.

News photo
To the rim: The Thunder's Kevin Durant goes up for a shot as the Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic defends on Saturday. AP

That, like practically everything else the Timberwolves and the rest of the NBA have tried this season, didn't work, either.

Durant scored 43 points and Westbrook had 35 and eight assists to keep the Thunder atop the Western Conference with a 115-110 victory over the Timberwolves on Saturday night.

"I don't think we ever thought we'd be putting Randolph on Westbrook in the fourth quarter and whoever on Durant," Adelman said. "We were trying anything to find answers."

Try again.

Durant scored 16 in the final seven minutes for the Thunder (44-16), who started the day one game ahead of the Spurs — but tied in the loss column — for the top seed in the West. After a three-game losing streak earlier this month, the Thunder have won four of their last five games.

"We want to win as much games as we can going down to the stretch of the season," Durant said. "Hopefully we get (the No. 1 seed). If not, we've just got to keep playing. We can't worry about that. We've just got to worry about how we can get better every single game."

Anthony Randolph had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Michael Beasley scored 26 for the Timberwolves, who lost their ninth straight game and 25th in a row in April dating to 2009.

The Wolves were without All-Star Kevin Love, who missed his second straight game with a concussion. J.J. Barea had 24 points and 10 assists, but Minnesota missed 12 free throws.

Barea's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 112-110 with 13.8 seconds to play, but Westbrook iced the game at the line, where the Thunder hit 28 of 32 shots.

Serge Ibaka had eight points, 12 rebounds and five blocks and James Harden returned from a one-game absence because of a sore right knee. He scored six on 1-for-11 shooting.

Spurs 105, Suns 91

In San Antonio, Tim Duncan had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Tony Parker scored 14 and the Spurs officially clinched the Southwest Division title.

More importantly, the Spurs stayed neck-and-neck with Oklahoma City for the No. 1 playoff seed in the Western Conference. San Antonio remains a game behind the Thunder with eight games to go.

Clippers 112, Warriors 104

In Los Angeles, Chris Paul had 28 points and 13 assists, and the Clippers beat Golden State to close within a game of the Lakers for the Pacific Division lead.

Blake Griffin added 20 points, DeAndre Jordan 18 and Mo Williams 14 in the Clippers' third straight win and 11th in their last 13 games. They are also chasing the idle Lakers for the third seed in the Western Conference with six games remaining.

Cavaliers 98, Wizards 89

In Washington, Luke Harangody had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Anthony Parker scored 15 points and Tristan Thompson added 14 to lead Cleveland.

Donald Sloan had a career-high 13 points to help the Cavaliers win a game featuring teams that had combined to lose 23 of their 28 coming in.

Celtics 94, Nets 82

In Newark, New Jersey, Avery Bradley hit three straight 3-pointers and scored 11 of his 18 points in a game-deciding third quarter as surging Boston beat the Nets.

Grizzlies 103, Jazz 98

In Memphis, O.J. Mayo scored 17 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Grizzlies past Utah.

Pacers 105, Bucks 99

In Milwaukee, Roy Hibbert had 23 points and 14 rebounds, including six free throws in the final 74 seconds, to lead Indiana to its fourth straight win.

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