Durant, Westbrook lead Thunder past Bucks
Russell Westbrook posted a triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 109-99 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Oklahoma City took charge late in the fourth quarter, using a 17-2 run aided by five Milwaukee turnovers that flipped a five-point deficit into a double-digit lead.
Before that run, the Bucks had committed just three turnovers, which made up for their pedestrian shooting performance. Milwaukee shot 38 percent from the field for the game but was 12 of 29 on 3-point attempts.
Ersan Ilyasova led Milwaukee with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Epke Udoh had 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for the Bucks, who have lost five of their last six.
Kevin Durant paced the Thunder, who have won four of their last five, with 30 points.
Down 56-46 at halftime, Milwaukee came out to start the third quarter with four 3-pointers and got within a point on Monta Ellis' 3-pointer that made it 74-73 with 3:35 left in the third.
The Bucks went ahead for the first time since the early going on a Larry Sanders' tip-in just a few seconds later, but he was quickly called for a technical. Kevin Martin tied the score with a free throw and Oklahoma City regained the lead on a Nick Collison jumper with 2:47 left.
Milwaukee retook the lead in the final minute of the quarter when Ellis took a pass under the hoop for an easy layup.
Westbrook hit two free throws with 35.8 seconds left but fouled Udoh on the other end. The Bucks center made his two free throws with 22.6 seconds left, but Ellis then was whisteled for a foul on Durant, who made both with 0.2 on the clock, tying the score heading into the fourth quarter.
Marquis Daniels' 3-pointer and jumper put Milwaukee out by five at 92-87 with 8:39 to play, but the Thunder came back with 12 straight and took a 99-92 lead on Collison's dunk with 6:10 left.
Ilyasova ended the drought for Milwaukee, but Durant's 3-pointer put Oklahoma City up 104-94 with 2:47 left and the Bucks never threatened.
NOTES: This was the first meeting between the teams this season and pitted the league's top two shot-blockers: Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (first, 3.0 blocks per game) and Milwaukee's Sanders (second, 2.98). Sanders, in his third NBA season, is looking to finishing atop the list. "I have been leading the league, but that would be cool (to win the shot-blocking title)," Sanders said. "Just looking at my progression from last year and the year before, I'm happy I've been able to contribute." ... Oklahoma City is still chasing San Antonio for first place in the West and the top seed for the conference playoffs. The Thunder have nine games remaining but aren't worrying about postseason matchups yet. "If you start thinking about the playoffs, you're going to struggle down the stretch," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We just want to keep playing basketball. We know we have some big games coming up, some very good teams, and in this league if you're not prepared and you don't execute, no matter who you play you're not going to give yourself a chance to win."
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