SACRAMENTO — With Kevin Durant on the bench to start the fourth quarter, his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates put together a run that helped end one of the most impressive scoring streaks in NBA history.
And Durant says nobody is happier it’s over than he is.
Caron Butler made all six of his 3-point attempts to finish with 23 points, and the Thunder began the fourth quarter on a 16-0 spurt to pull away for a 107-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
Durant finished with 23 points but was never needed in the final quarter, stopping his streak of scoring at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games.
Only Oscar Robertson (46 straight games in 1963-64) and Wilt Chamberlain (all 80 regular-season games in the 1961-62 season) have longer such streaks.
Serge Ibaka added 19 points and four rebounds for the Thunder, who rested Russell Westbrook ahead of Wednesday night’s game at the Los Angeles Clippers.
DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Travis Outlaw scored 24 points in Sacramento’s third straight loss. Even with three regulars out with injuries, the Kings made the Thunder work through the first three quarters.
Oklahoma City built double-digits leads throughout the game only to watch Sacramento surge back each time.
But with Durant on the bench to open the fourth, the Thunder finally created a lead big enough to stick. The Thunder held Sacramento scoreless for nearly six minutes to go ahead 101-77.
“We had some guys that played with no energy,” said frustrated Kings coach Michael Malone. “It looked they didn’t even want to be out there, to be honest.”
Even though Durant said he was aware of how many points he had but never thought of asking coach Scott Brooks to go back in the game.
Brooks insisted it never crossed his mind, either, saying the most impressive thing about Durant’s streak is that he didn’t even realize it ended because Durant has been the “trademark for consistency.”
“He’s about team,” Brooks said. “If he wasn’t, he would have played golf and tried to chase (Jack) Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.”
Sacramento, already among the conference’s worst teams, played even more short-handed. Kings big man Reggie Evans and forward Rudy Gay sat out with back injuries, and point guard Isaiah Thomas missed his eighth straight game with a bruised right quadriceps.
Oklahoma City looked every bit like the better and deeper team at the start.
The Thunder surged ahead 9-0 in the first two minutes before Cousins brought the Kings back with his perimeter shot, slicing Oklahoma City’s lead to 30-27 at the end of the first quarter.
The Thunder began to pull away again with a 17-4 run in the second quarter propelled by Butler, who made all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half. Oklahoma City led 61-49 at intermission and didn’t have a turnover until the second half.