Thunder-Hawks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 19, 2012
The Oklahoma City Thunder's consistent success has made them forget about their very brief early-season struggles, which basically ended after a home loss to the Atlanta Hawks. In order to set a new franchise-best winning streak, they'll have to avenge one of their few defeats. Oklahoma City seeks a 12th consecutive victory as it begins a three-game road swing Wednesday night in Atlanta. The Thunder (20-4) have surged to the NBA's best record during their current run, bouncing back from a 1-2 start after a 104-95 home loss to the Hawks on Nov. 4. They've won 18 of 20 since and matched the 1996-97 Seattle SuperSonics' franchise-record winning streak with a 107-93 victory over San Antonio on Monday. Serge Ibaka scored a career-high 25 points and added a season-best 17 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook scored 22 points and Kevin Martin 20 off the bench. "It was good for us to get a win, but we've got to keep moving on," said Kevin Durant, who scored 19 points and is third in the league at 27.1 points per game. Durant has six 30-point games during this run for Oklahoma City, which is averaging an NBA-best 105.8 points and is second from beyond the arc at 41.1 percent. "We're happy with it but we're not satisfied,'' coach Scott Brooks said. "We're going to keep doing what we do, and that's play every game the best we can and live with the results. We know we're not going to win every game in this league.'' That was proven early, as Durant's 22 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists couldn't help the Thunder avoid a loss to the Hawks, who have won 12 of their last 15 after beating Washington 100-95 in overtime Tuesday. Josh Smith, who sat out the meeting in Oklahoma City with a sprained right ankle, finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds against the Wizards while Lou Williams scored a season-high 24 points off the bench. Atlanta (15-7), starting a stretch of four games in five nights, was coming off a 115-93 home loss to Golden State on Saturday in which it shot a season-worst 36.9 percent, hitting only 5 of 26 from 3-point range. "We didn't play with a lot of energy, so I just wanted to be aggressive any time I had the ball,'' Williams said. Devin Harris injured his foot in the first half Tuesday and didn't return, forcing DeShawn Stevenson into action. He scored eight points and hit all three of his shots in nearly 13 minutes. "I had no choice but to play DeShawn,'' coach Larry Drew said. "And I'll tell you what, he really stepped it up big time for me. His presence was felt immediately.'' Al Horford, who had 23 points and 12 rebounds in the first matchup with the Thunder, had 11 boards and six assists but scored only five points and shot 2 of 11 from the field Tuesday. Smith had 30 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Hawks to a 97-90 victory March 3 in the last meeting in Atlanta - a game Horford missed - to help overcome 35 points from Durant and 25 from Westbrook. Durant is averaging 30.4 points in his last five games versus the Hawks.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kings engaging in trade talks for Cousins

Report: Romo willing to rework contract to facilitate trade

Lonzo Ball's father says son is better than Curry right now

Report: Rams could have interest in Cousins if Goff flops

Report: Butler to Celtics talk will loom over All-Star week

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Carmelo expects to remain with Knicks

James Harden: ‘For sure’ I’m the best player in the world

Report: Pats expected to make good effort to keep Bennett

Glenn Robinson III dunks over three people to win Slam Dunk Contest

Kevin Durant booed at All-Star introductions in New Orleans

Charles Oakley joins Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

Box Score 2/17: Happy birthday, Michael Jordan (and welcome to 1000 point club, Sid!)

The 'Michael Jordan might still win the Dunk contest if he entered' quiz

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Box Score 2/16: Getting ready for the ASG

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of YB: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Who will break these NBA All-Star Game records?

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker