Hawks lose at home to the Thunder 100-92

The key factor that gave the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-4) the victory 100-92 over the Atlanta Hawks (15-8) at Philips Arena was one man – Kevin Durant.

A three-pointer from Josh Smith, three put-back lay-ups from Zaza Pachulia  and an alley oop dunk by Lou Williams had set  a 12-2 run for the Hawks in the second half, bringing them back into the game as they reduced their deficit to as low as four points in the fourth quarter.

“Second half I thought we did a much, much better job,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said at the post-game conference. “We came out with a little bit more sense of urgency.”

But there was Durant. He had 18 of his 41 points in the last eight minutes of the game and sealed the deal for the Thunder.

“He hit some tough shots and he’s capable of doing that,” Drew said. “I told our guys that for a guy like Durant who has the ability to put points on the board, we have to be prepared, which we did… He still made shots. It’s going to be like that sometimes.”

Adding on to Durant’s numbers was Russell Westbrook, who had 27 points and 11 assists.

The Hawks were led by Jeff Teague with 19 points, followed by Josh Smith’s double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. Al Horford and Lou Williams also finished with double figures, scoring 13 points each.

Their first half was nothing like the second, though. They struggled to score in the second quarter and went into halftime down by 14.

“We wore down early,” Drew said. “We weren’t as sharp executing our sets. That resulted in some bad shots. We had a lot of bad shots in that first half. That was the reason we got down. I told the guys at halftime, when you play against a good team, a team who defends the way they do, you have to trust in what you do. It’s not a time to fragment. I thought early we played too much one-on-one and it resulted in a lot of bad shots. They got out and ran and attacked us to the run.”

With this victory, the Thunder extend their winning streak to 12, while it signifies the second loss for the Hawks out of the 10 back-to-back games they played so far.

Looking for their 16th victory of the season, the Hawks will rest on Thursday and hit the road to visit the 76ers Friday at 7 p.m.