The Thunder faced a tough road when Russell Westbrook went down again last month, but little did they know Kevin Durant was about to go supernova. The Oklahoma City star went for 46 points in a 105-97 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, putting his team all alone in second place in the West.
The Trail Blazers went cold down the stretch when they could absolutely least afford it, scoring just six points in the final 6:29 of the game. All the while, Durant was going bonkers. He went 17-of-25 from the floor, leading his team to 48.3 percent shooting for the game, including 10-of-15 from deep.
And he hit some utterly ridiculous bombs in the final minutes.
I mean, at this point it's just over.
Miami Heat 93, Boston Celtics 86
There's something about the Celtics that apparently makes life difficult for the defending champs, but there was no Jeff Green miracle in Miami this time around. Boston took an 86-84 lead with about three minutes remaining, then didn't score again as the Heat claimed a 93-86 win.
Miami was once again without Dwyane Wade, who was resting his knees, but LeBron James just did what he always does. The league MVP went for 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists as the Heat avoided a second straight loss in as many days despite being badly outrebounded, 46-33.
And he got some help from his feathered friends. (Birdman. I'm talking about Birdman.)
Avery Bradley went down with a sprained ankle in the second quarter, but Chris Johnson, who's currently on a 10-day contract, put up 11 points on just seven shots in his absence. Brandon Bass led the way for the Celtics with 15 points.
Also, it's great to see Greg Oden continue to do things like this:
Sacramento Kings 114, New Orleans Pelicans 97
Oh, OK. So Rudy Gay is back to being good at basketball. The newest King matched a career-high with 41 points on 25 shots as Sacramento beat the injury-ravaged New Orleans Pelicans, 114-97, on Tuesday night.
Gay hasn't scored that many points since he set that career-best mark against the Miami Heat back in 2009, and he continues to impress in his new digs. The Kings are 9-11 since his arrival in Sacramento. And he got plenty of help. DeMarcus Cousins filled up the box score with 18 points, 11 boards, six assists, four blocks and three steals, and Isaiah Thomas notched 20 points and 11 dimes.
The unfortunately banged-up Pelicans got 16 points, six boards and four blocks from budding star Anthony Davis and 17 points from Tyreke Evans, but none of it was enough as the Kings could not be stopped.
Brooklyn Nets 101, Orlando Magic 90
January continues to be kind to the previously dismal Nets. Brooklyn is now 8-1 since the change of the calendar year, and things seem to be rolling more smoothly than anyone would've predicted back in December.
The Nets beat the Orlando Magic, 101-90, behind 18 points from Andray Blatche and 14 from Mirza Teletovic, both off the bench. The Nets shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and assisted on 29 buckets and really broke this one open with a 27-14 third quarter.
Kyle O'Quinn went for 15 points and eight rebounds for the lowly Magic.
Minnesota Timberwolves 112, Utah Jazz 97
Kevin Love nearly notched a triple-double, Ricky Rubio was distributing all over the court and J.J. Barea came alive off the bench as the Minnesota Timberwolves handled the Utah Jazz quite easily, 112-97, on Tuesday night.
Love dropped 19 points, 13 boards and eight assists, and Rubio's 11 points, 13 dimes and five steals really set the pace for a Wolves team that opened up a 26-point lead late in the third quarter of a game that was never really in doubt. Minnesota recorded 31 assists as a team and hit 8-of-21 from deep.
Gordon Hayward went for 27 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals in the loss.