Durant leads Thunder past Knicks

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Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant had 34 points and eight rebounds as the Thunder beat the Knicks.  FRANK FRANKLIN II/ 
ASSOCIATED PRESS
FRANK FRANKLIN II/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant had 34 points and eight rebounds as the Thunder beat the Knicks.

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant had 34 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 1:38 left, and the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled out a 95-94 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

Russell Westbrook struggled over the final three quarters but finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Thunder’s first trip to New York since Dec. 22, 2010. Durant also had eight boards and six assists.

Oklahoma City posted its third consecutive win, fighting off a spirited effort by a Knicks team missing Carmelo Anthony. The All-Star forward missed his second straight game with what the Knicks said is a stiff and sore right knee.

J.R. Smith scored a season-high 36 points for New York, but missed a turnaround jumper that would have won it as time ran out.

Neither team led by more than two points over the final 10½ minutes. Durant scored 12 in the final period while Westbrook was shut out, hitting a pair from the line with 1:38 to play that made it 95-94.

Smith missed a 3-pointer but the Knicks had a final chance after Durant was off on a jumper with about 9 seconds to go. Smith got the ball in about the same spot where he had hit a winning jumper against Phoenix earlier this season, but his shot was long as the Knicks had their two game-winning streak snapped.

CAVALIERS: Won’t risk losing Kyrie Irving for any more games.

On Thursday, Cleveland coach Byron Scott said he will consider shutting down his All-Star point guard, who recently missed three games with a hyperextended right knee and said after Wednesday’s comeback win over Utah that the injury was still bothering him.

“If Ky is hurting, I have no problem sitting him down,” Scott said.

Playing his second consecutive game after resting for a week, Irving scored 20 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Cavs overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter and beat the Jazz 104-101. Irving scored 11 points in the final 4:21, but after the game said his knee still wasn’t 100 percent.

“The only way I would get better is if I sit out for the rest of the season, and I’m not doing that,” Irving said.

The comment surprised Scott, who said he will talk to Irving and trainer Max Benton before any decisions are made.

BOBCATS: Guard Ramon Sessions will miss two to four weeks with second degree MCL sprain in his left knee.

The team said Thursday that Sessions’ meniscus and ligaments are intact and he won’t need surgery.

Sessions played 20 minutes in Wednesday night’s loss 99-78 loss to the Brooklyn Nets and didn’t appear to be hurt. However, Sessions complained of pain after the game and an MRI on Thursday revealed the injury.

Sessions, acquired as a free agent this offseason from the Los Angeles Lakers, has been a valuable reserve for the Bobcats and is averaging a career-high 14.4 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game.

SUNS: Center Marcin Gortat probably is out for the rest of the season after spraining his foot during Wednesday night’s loss to Toronto.

The Suns say an MRI revealed a midfoot sprain to his right foot. Gortat will be sidelined three to four weeks, much of that time in a cast.

That timetable would mean Gortat might be back for a handful of games. But with the need for conditioning and the Suns out of playoff contention there is little urgency for a quick return.

The Polish center is averaging 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. He has appeared in 182 consecutive games for Phoenix – every game since he came to the Suns on Dec. 18, 2010.


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