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Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012

Durant ignites Thunder to narrow victory over Bulls

AP

CHICAGO — Oklahoma City went to Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter. Chicago was missing its best closer, so all the Bulls had to pitch in.

News photo
Soaring: Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant flies in for a slam dunk against Chicago in the first half on Thursday night. The Thunder defeated the Bulls 97-91. AP

Durant and Co. were just too much to overcome.

The NBA scoring champion had eight of his 24 points in the final period and the Thunder beat the Bulls 97-91 on Thursday night.

"It was one of those games you have to grind out," Durant said. "We've been through so many. We know what it takes."

Durant iced the game with an off-balance jumper off one foot with 35.1 seconds to play. He added another jumper a few seconds later and then finished off his game-ending spree with a couple of free throws.

Oklahoma City outscored Chicago 31-19 in the fourth quarter, overcoming a six-point deficit.

"That's winning time, fourth quarter," Durant said. "In the fourth quarter we really turned it up a lot. But if you want to be a really good team you've got to do that from the beginning of the game."

Serge Ibaka scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half, and had a team-high nine rebounds for the Thunder, who beat the Bulls for the third time in their last four games at Chicago. Russell Westbrook finished with 16 points and 12 assists.

"I told (Durant) be aggressive, just be aggressive, especially in the fourth quarter," Westbrook said. "It was his time. Everybody knows that's his time. He took his time and got the shots he needed."

Luol Deng led the Bulls with 27 points, and Richard Hamilton added 20 points and eight rebounds. Joakim Noah had nine points, 13 rebounds and a team-high six assists.

"Overall, I thought we played hard but we turned the ball over a lot," Noah said. "(Durant) hit some really tough shots."

Hamilton made a tying jumper with 2:52 to play, but then Durant took over, making a floater from the top of the key over Deng to keep the Bulls at bay.

"I was on him," Deng said. "He's 6-9 (206 cm). A great player. Really tough shot."

While Durant came up with some clutch baskets at one end, the Bulls had no one to answer with star point guard Derrick Rose sidelined with a knee injury that will keep him out of action into the new year.

"Derrick Rose is an unbelievable player, don't get me wrong. He is Chicago," Durant said. "But those guys are great complements to him. Once one of your best players is out, guys got to step up and that's what they've been doing ever since he's been out."

The Bulls led 72-66 entering the final period.

Clippers 103, Blazers 90

In Portland, Jamal Crawford scored 25 points and Los Angeles held off the Trail Blazers for a victory.

De'Andre Jordan and Chris Paul had 21 points apiece for the Clippers, who led by 25 in the first half. Los Angeles improved to 4-2 in its first game away from Staples Center.

Nicolas Batum had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, who mounted a second-half challenge but ultimately couldn't catch up.

Portland closed to 86-82 on Meyers Leonard's alley-oop dunk from Batum in the fourth quarter, but the rally fizzled and Paul sent fans streaming for the doors when his jumper with 2:51 left extended the lead to 98-85.

Bogut sidelined again

AP

OAKLAND, California — Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut will be sidelined the next seven to 10 days to rest and strengthen his surgically repaired left ankle.

The announcement Thursday is the kind of setback Bogut and the Warriors were hoping to avoid this season. The 213-cm Australian was held scoreless while playing 17 minutes in Golden State's 106-96 win against Cleveland on Wednesday night. He had five assists and three rebounds.

Bogut sat out all of the preseason. He has moved slowly and showed little lift while playing four of the first five regular-season games. The 2005 No. 1 overall pick fractured his ankle Jan. 25 with Milwaukee and missed the rest of the season after being traded to Golden State for guard Monta Ellis, among others.



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