|Durant leads streaking Thunder past Bulls 107-95|
|Thursday, December 19, 2013 9:40 PM|
By VIN A. CHERWOO
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 32 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 107-95 on Thursday night for their eighth straight win.
Russell Westbrook had 20 points and reserve Reggie Jackson added 18 to help the Thunder improve to 13-0 at Chesapeake Arena. Oklahoma City is the only NBA team with a perfect home record.
Joakim Noah had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the banged-up Bulls, who have lost four straight and seven out of eight. Taj Gibson scored 16 points and D.J. Augustin added 15.
Chicago played without Kirk Hinrich (back tightness) and Luol Deng (sore Achilles); Jimmy Butler left during the game with a right ankle injury.
The Thunder led by 15 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, before the Bulls pulled within seven on Augustin's 3 with 8:50 to go. Oklahoma City then outscored Chicago 16-4 over a late 5½ -minute stretch to pull away.
Oklahoma City's early 14-point lead was trimmed to three at the break, prompting a strong response from the Thunder in the third quarter.
Oklahoma City used a 13-4 run to go up 68-56 with 7:52 to go in the period. Westbrook's layup increased the advantage to 13 about 1½ minutes later, then he had a layup and Durant made a jumper to make it 79-64 with 3:25 left in the third.
The Bulls scored six consecutive points to get within nine but Jackson's 3 in the final minute put Oklahoma City up 84-72 heading to the fourth.
Nick Collison opened the final quarter with 3-point play, restoring the Thunder's 15-point lead. The Bulls put together another spurt to close to 89-82 on Augustin's 3 but that was as close as it would get.
Jeremy Lamb's dunk with 7:44 left made it 93-82, pumping up the home crowd. Durant made a 3-pointer and Westbrook's two free throws with 3:06 to go extended the lead to 105-86.
Jackson made six of the Thunder's seven baskets in a 6:13 stretch bridging the first two quarters. Lamb's steal and fast-break dunk with 9:21 left in the second interrupted Jackson's streak at four consecutive baskets.
Jackson's jumper about a minute later gave Oklahoma City a 41-27 lead.
Chicago battled back and Mike Dunleavy hit two 3s in the final minute to get the Bulls within 55-52 at halftime.
NOTES: Durant was whistled for a technical foul with 2:25 left in the first quarter for arguing following his second personal foul. ... Led by Jackson and Lamb, Thunder reserves came in averaging 33.6 points per game, the franchise's highest since moving to Oklahoma City. ... Deng missed four games earlier this month due to a strained left calf. The Bulls are now 1-4 in his absence.