Kevin Durant leads Oklahoma City past Atlanta Hawks

Oklahoma City 101, Atlanta Hawks 92

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ATLANTA — Kevin Durant scored 30 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder won for the 11th time in 12 games, holding off Atlanta 101-92 on Tuesday night.

Shelvin Mack scored 17 points off the bench to lead an Atlanta comeback, but finally cooled off at the end.

Coming off an impressive 118-94 home victory over Indiana, the Thunder had more trouble on the road against the Hawks. But the result was the same: another Oklahoma City victory, despite a tough night for Russell Westbrook. He was held to 14 points on 6-of-21 shooting, though he did sink an impressive reverse layup with 1:41 remaining to help finish off Atlanta.

Durant made 9 of 21 from the field and 11 of 15 free throws.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 23 points.

Indiana 90, Miami 84

In Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert scored 24 points and Paul George had 15 of his 17 points during a second-half rally to lead the Pacers past Miami in a matchup of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams.

Indiana improved its league-best record to 19-3 and extended its lead to three full games by beating Miami at home for the fourth time in a row.

LeBron James led the Heat with 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists but had only three baskets and nine points over the final 36 minutes. Dwyane Wade also scored 17 for Miami, which has now lost three of five.

The Heat led by 13 in the first half and didn’t trail until Hibbert completed a three-point play with 6:12 left in the third quarter to put the Pacers ahead 58-57. But with George heating up, Hibbert dominating the middle and Indiana’s bench playing solid, Miami couldn’t tie it or take the lead again.

Cleveland 109, New York 94

In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving had 37 points and 11 assists and Jarrett Jack added 17 points, leading the Cavs to a victory over the Knicks.

Fresh off an embarrassing 41-point loss at home to Boston on Sunday, New York dropped to 5-15 and made Woodson’s future even more uncertain. The Knicks have lost 11 of 13.

Irving scored 12 points in the third quarter, when the Cavs outscored the defenseless Knicks 33-20 and pulled away. Tristan Thompson added 12 points – two on a ferocious put-back dunk – and had nine rebounds as Cleveland won its fourth straight at home.

Anthony scored 29 points and Amare Stoudemire had 15 for the Knicks, who erased an early 18-point deficit, gave it all back, fell behind by 19 and weren’t aggressive.

San Antonio 116, Toronto 103

In Toronto, Tony Parker praised “the usual guys” on San Antonio’s bench for their role, then singled out Australian big man Aron Baynes for special attention. Baynes scored a career-high 14 points, Manu Ginobili had 16 and the Spurs beat the Raptors.

Jeff Ayers made the first start of his Spurs career in place of injured center Tiago Splitter, but it was Baynes whose contribution proved most vital to San Antonio’s sixth straight victory against Toronto.

Baynes had scored just 17 points on the season coming into Tuesday’s game, but blew past that mark by shooting 7 for 9 from the field and matching his season high with six rebounds.

Brooklyn 104, Boston 96

In New York, Deron Williams scored a season-high 25 points in his return to the lineup, Brook Lopez added 24, and the Nets beat the Celtics in the first matchup for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett against their former team.

Garnett had 11 points, just his third time in double figures this season, and grabbed nine rebounds. Pierce finished with four points and seven rebounds in his first appearance off the bench in six years after making a quick recovery from a broken right hand.

Avery Bradley scored 22 points and Jeff Green had 19 for the Celtics, who have been competitive after trading away two of their most important players from their 2008 NBA championship team. Boston had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Minnesota 121, Detroit 94

In Auburn Hills, Kevin Love had 26 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves in a rout of Detroit.

Love only played 30 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter with the big lead. Detroit was unable to stop him inside, outside or on the break. Several of his seven assists came on his trademark 70-foot outlet passes off missed shots.

Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin added 18 points each for Minnesota, which finished with six players in double figures.

Brandon Jennings had 20 points for Detroit, but Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond were held to a combined total of 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Milwaukee 78, Chicago 74

In Chicago, John Henson had 25 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots, and the Bucks beat the Bulls in a matchup of injury-riddled teams.

Brandon Knight added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee, which had dropped three of four. O.J. Mayo was just 2 for 12 from the field, but had seven assists and made a couple of big plays in the fourth quarter.

Chicago used only eight players after Joakim Noah was sidelined by a bruised right thigh. Carlos Boozer was the only starter in the lineup from the season opener at Miami.

Mike Dunleavy scored 18 of his 24 points in the second quarter, but the Bulls struggled on offense in the latter part of their fourth loss in five games. Boozer finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Tony Snell had 13 points.

CELTICS: Doc Rivers, coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, will be at TD Garden on (tonight) Wednesday night, this time working from the visitors’ bench. It will be his first visit since May 3, the last game of his stay with the Boston Celtics.

“It will be very nice for me,” Rivers said. “I put nine years in there, nine wonderful years. So that’ll be really cool.”

He led the Celtics to their 17th NBA championship in 2007-2008 when they compiled a 66-16 record, and to the seventh game of the 2010 NBA finals. He had a 416-305 regular-season record as coach of the Celtics and took them to the playoffs seven times.

NETS: Deron Williams and Paul Pierce returned to the Brooklyn Nets against Boston Tuesday night, with Pierce coming off the bench against his former team after a quick return from a broken right hand.

Williams was in the starting lineup for his first game since spraining his left ankle again on Nov. 20. He has missed the past nine games.

The Nets have been hit hard by injuries this season and are still without key reserves Andrei Kirilenko (back) and Jason Terry (left knee), who came with Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston.

KNICKS: All-Star center Tyson Chandler has begun practicing and is making progress toward a return from a broken right leg.

Chandler has been out since Nov. 5 with a small fracture in the fibula in his lower leg. Chandler spoke to reporters Tuesday night before the struggling Knicks played the Cavaliers. He said his leg is feeling better and that he has not had any setbacks.

Chandler has been playing some one-on-one and working on his conditioning. Chandler does not know when he’ll be back. The original timetable put on his return when he was initially hurt was 4-to-6 weeks.

The Knicks have lacked an inside presence without the 7-foot-1 Chandler, who averaged 9.0 rebounds in the four games before he was hurt. New York is 4-11 without Chandler.

SHOT COUNTS: A college basketball player who won $20,000 by hitting a half-court shot during an Oklahoma City Thunder game can keep the money for use as a scholarship, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Tuesday.

Cameron Rodriguez nailed the promotional shot Nov. 18 during the Thunder’s home game against the Denver Nuggets. The jubilation was short-lived after the NAIA informed Rodriguez that if he kept the money, he would lose his amateur status at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan.

The college appealed, and the NAIA said Tuesday that Rodriguez could use the half-court winnings as scholarship money.

“We’re pleased with the decision from the membership and specifically the (national eligibility committee) that allows Cameron to keep his winnings to use toward his education,” said Jim Carr, NAIA president and CEO.


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