OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and handed out 10 assists as Oklahoma City held off the pesky Sacramento Kings 116-103 to remain even with New Orleans for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City led by as many as 13 in the first half, with Enes Canter scoring 17 points. But when Omri Casspi hit a 3-pointer with 1:52 left in the half, the lead had been cut to 51-49.
Oklahoma City scored the last six points of the half, then watched the Kings fight back again in the third quarter. Derrick Williams, who had gone 0 for 6 in the first half, scored back-to-back buckets to tie the game 72-72 with 2:13 left.
Once again, the Thunder closed a quarter strong, outscoring Sacramento 10-4, Westbrook leading the way. Westbrook hit a 3-pointer and a driving layup to put the Thunder back in front for good, and Anthony Morrow capped the spurt with one of his five 3s.
The Thunder expanded a six-point lead at the end of three quarters into a 17 point margin down the stretch. Morrow helped put the game away with a pair of fourth quarter 3-point shots as Oklahoma City broke a four-game losing streak.
Kanter finished with 24 points, Dion Waiters 22 and Morrow 19 for the Thunder. Sacramento got 20 points from Ben McLemore and 17 each from Ray McCallum and Williams in losing its fifth straight on the road.
Both teams were missing a pair of key performers. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka are out for the season for Oklahoma City. Sacramento was without its top two scorers, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, who account for 46 points a game for the Kings.
Kings: McCallum made a return to the area where he spent his formative years. He grew up in Norman while his dad was an assistant basketball coach at Oklahoma.
Thunder: Nick Collison returned after missing nine games with an ankle injury. Collison scored five points, grabbed seven rebounds and a steal in 20 minutes.
Kings: visit Denver on Sunday.
Thunder: visit Indiana on Sunday.
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