Durant's late game heroics lead Thunder past Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Kevin Durant came hard off the screen, took the pass and launched a jumper that banked off the glass and through the net.

In a season already filled with late-game highlights and game-winning shots, Durant can't miss even when he's off the mark. The same might go for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It's no surprise both are among the NBA's best.

Durant made the go-ahead bank shot with 14.2 seconds remaining and the league-leading Thunder overcame career performances by Monta Ellis and David Lee to beat the Golden State Warriors 119-116 on Tuesday night.

"It's one of those things where you shoot it and you're like, 'Aw, that's a terrible shot,'" Durant said. "When it went in, I was kind of surprised."

He might've been the only one.

Durant finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Russell Westbrook added 31 points and seven assists to give Oklahoma City its fourth win in five games. After rallying for a thrilling comeback at Portland a night earlier, the Thunder had to sweat out another frantic finish.

Ellis scored a career-high 48 points, and Lee had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double. Ellis and Brandon Rush both missed 3-pointers in the closing seconds to tie or take the lead.

The Warriors had every opportunity for a stunning upset.

Ellis pulled up just outside the paint and floated a runner while getting fouled by Westbrook, bringing the announced crowd of 17,971 to its feet. He completed the three-point play to give Golden State a 112-108 lead with 3:53 remaining.

Daequan Cook followed with a 3-pointer, Westbrook hit a long jumper and Durant had a powerful two-hand slam to put Oklahoma City back in front 115-112 in an instant.

After Dorell Wright made one of two free throws to get Golden State within two, Durant missed a contested 3-pointer. The ball found Ellis' hands and the guard never gave it back.

Ellis darted to the basket off a pick-and-roll with Lee, threw his body into center Serge Ibaka and shielded the ball for a right-handed layup that started another three-point play that gave Golden State a 116-115 lead with 22.3 seconds to play.

Then, Durant simply showed his best.

After missing a finger roll through a crowd of defenders, Durant got a second chance when the ball trickled out of bounds off Golden State. He didn't take long to redeem himself, coming off a screen and banking in an 18-footer with 14.2 seconds left.

Ellis missed a 3-pointer on the other end, Westbrook followed with two free throws and Golden State had one last chance to send it to overtime. But Ellis inbounded the ball on the final play, and Rush missed a 3-pointer in the corner at the final buzzer.

"We have to break that cycle," Ellis said. "The games we should win, we've got to start winning. And the games like this, we should go out and compete and give ourselves a chance to win."

Ellis finished 18 for 29 from the field and was 9 of 10 on free throws. He also had seven rebounds and two assists.

"You want me to tell him stop shooting? The guy went for 48 tonight," said Warriors coach Mark Jackson.

The West Coast swing of the Thunder's long road stretch came full circle.

A trip that began with a 120-109 victory at Golden State on Jan. 27 hit one of its more difficult stretches. After a 111-107 comeback victory in overtime a night earlier at Portland, Oklahoma City struggled early to find its rhythm.

The Warriors sprinted to an 8-0 lead in the first 1:58 of the game with Ellis setting the tone. The Warriors dynamic shooting guard started the game 8 for 10 from the floor and often finished in acrobatic fashion.

Oklahoma City clamped down on defense - if only for a moment - to overpower Golden State, which shot 66.7 percent in the opening quarter. Durant stole an off-balance pass from Ellis and handed off to James Harden for a layup to highlight an 11-3 run that put the Thunder ahead 53-43 late in the second.

The break did little to slow Golden State's undersized shooting guard.

Ellis slipped through screens and past every defender the Thunder threw his way, igniting a fast-pace push to the second half. He started a three-point play with a scintillating layup over Westbrook and Wright also hit a 3-pointer to highlight a run that put the Warriors in front 80-68 in the third quarter.

"We have to break that cycle" Ellis said. "The games we should win, we've got to start winning. And the games like this, we should go out and compete and give ourselves a chance to win."

"Our goal going into the game is to hold Monta Ellis to 50 and he only had 48 so we accomplished two things," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, sarcastically. "We got the win and we kept him under 50. It was a great performance by him, but we did get some stops at the end of the game and we needed it."

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