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The Sports Xchange, Published January 04 2014

Durant's 48 points send Thunder past Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS -- Oklahoma City small forward Kevin Durant scored 23 of his season-high 48 points in the fourth quarter as the Thunder rallied for a come-from-behind, 115-111 victory at Minnesota on Saturday night.

Durant's step-back 18-footer with four seconds to play gave the Thunder a 113-111 lead.

Minnesota had a chance to win the game when power forward Kevin Love was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 2.2 seconds to play. Love missed the first two free throws and turned the ball over when his missed shot didn't hit the rim.

Center Nikola Pekovic led the Timberwolves with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Love scored 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to record his 29th double-double in 32 games.

Oklahoma City snapped its two-game losing streak and avoided losing three in a row for the first time since last February. It also reversed a recent trend in which the Thunder have been outplayed in the fourth quarter of games.

Minnesota missed an opportunity to go above .500. The Timberwolves, who had won three of four, are now three games behind Dallas in the race for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

Reserve point guard Derek Fisher scored 13 points for Oklahoma City while power forward Serge Ibaka had 12.

Guard Kevin Martin scored 17 points and forward Corey Brewer had 15 for Minnesota, which got 13 points and 10 assists from point guard Ricky Rubio.

Durant was the reason the Thunder won. He hit 7 of 11 from the field in the fourth quarter and made four 3-pointers over the final 10 minutes.

The Thunder trailed the Timberwolves by 10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but it didn't take Durant long to cut that lead down. He scored 10 points in an 11-0 spurt that got Oklahoma City back in the game. His 3-pointer with 8:58 to play cut Minnesota's lead to 92-90 and forced the Timberwolves to call timeout.

Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson tied the game at 107 with a pair of free throws with 1:56 play. After Rubio missed for the Timberwolves, Oklahoma City guard Jeremy Lamb tipped in Durant's miss and gave the Thunder their first lead since the second quarter, 109-107.

Minnesota led 55-49 at halftime after scoring eight of the final 10 points. The Timberwolves, who routed the Thunder in their previous meeting in Minneapolis, stretched their lead to 61-51 early in the third quarter.

Oklahoma City 26 23 28 38 — 115:

Minnesota 30 25 32 24 — 111:

OKLAHOMA CITY (115)

Durant 16-32 12-13 48, Ibaka 6-13 0-0 12, R.Jackson 3-6 4-4 10, Sefolosha 2-7 0-0 5, Perkins 0-0 0-0 0, J.Lamb 2-7 5-5 9, Fisher 3-7 4-4 13, N.Collison 4-6 0-0 8, Adams 4-5 2-2 10, Jones III 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-83 27-28 115.

MINNESOTA (111)

Love 11-21 3-7 30, C.Brewer 6-14 2-4 15, Kv.Martin 7-14 2-3 17, Pekovic 13-22 5-8 31, Rubio 4-13 5-6 13, Cunningham 0-2 0-0 0, Barea 2-5 1-1 5, Shved 0-2 0-0 0, Hummel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 43-94 18-29 111.

3-Point Goals: Oklahoma City 8-24 (Durant 4-9, Fisher 3-6, Sefolosha 1-4, R.Jackson 0-1, Ibaka 0-2, J.Lamb 0-2), Minnesota 7-20 (Love 5-9, Kv.Martin 1-3, C.Brewer 1-4, Barea 0-2, Rubio 0-2). Fouled out: C.Brewer. Rebounds: Oklahoma City 53 (Adams 9), Minnesota 53 (Love 14). Assists: Oklahoma City 22 (Durant 7), Minnesota 25 (Rubio 10). Total Fouls: Oklahoma City 29 (Perkins, R.Jackson, Fisher 5), Minnesota 24 (C.Brewer 6). A—18,065.