The Oklahoma City Thunder extended their longest winning streak in six seasons with a 89-77 win over the Portland Blazers on Tuesday night, Kevin Durant had 33 points and 11 rebounds to help the Thunder win their sixth game in a row. The winning run is the franchise's longest since the team was in Seattle, where they won nine consecutive games in 2004 as the Seattle Sonics.
"We're feeling good going into the break," Durant said. "The most important thing is that we come back ready to play after the All-Star break. "We need to enjoy the break but come back with that mind set ready to fight through these last 30 games." It was the 25th game in a row that Durant has scored 25 or more points - the longest streak since Allen Iverson managed it in 27 consecutive games during the 2000-01 season.
The game was the first time the two former Northwest division rivals have played in Portland this season. The Thunder left Seattle two years ago and a smattering of fans around the Rose Garden wore Seattle Sonics T-shirts or held signs saying "Save Our Sonics". "This is a great environment, one of the best in basketball," said Scott Brooks, the Oklahoma City coach. "It was bad, a bad effort tonight," Nate McMillan, the Portland coach, said.
Elsewhere in the NBA, the All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups returned to the Denver Nuggets' line-up to inspire a 127-91 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Anthony scored 19 points after missing eight consecutive games with an ankle injury, while Billups had 16 following a one-game absence, also because of an ankle problem. "The good thing is my first game back, I didn't have to do too much," Anthony said. "But the bad thing is, I already had been sitting out for two weeks. I wanted to play [more], but I'll take a 36-point win any day.
"We didn't expect to beat a good team like that by that amount of points, but we came out and played well from the beginning. "Everybody got involved. Everybody was on the same page. We knew in the back of our mind how important this game was." The defeat was the Mavericks' worst of the season as the Southwest Division leaders' poor form continued with their fifth loss in seven games. Meanwhile the Cleveland Cavaliers extended their winning streak to a season-high 12 games as they beat the New Jersey Nets 104-97. LeBron James again led the way with 32 points and 11 assists for the Cavs.
"It's impressive no matter what league you're in, no matter who you're playing against," James said. "To have a 12-game winning streak against the best competition in the world is impressive." "He's an amazing player and keeps getting better and better," Kiki Vandeweghe, the New Jersey coach, said of James. "There aren't accolades to describe his game." * With agencies