LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Durant had 32 points and nine rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-87 on Friday night for their 13th victory in 16 games.
It was Durant's 35th game this season with 30 or more points, tying the franchise record Spencer Haywood set with the 1972-73 Seattle SuperSonics. The first-time All-Star, who has been playing leapfrog with LeBron James in their race for the NBA scoring title, came in trailing the Cleveland Cavaliers' star by one-tenth of a point per game. James had 40 against Detroit on Friday night.
Durant, trying to become the first player in the 43-year history of the Seattle/Oklahoma City franchise to win a league scoring crown, has had at least 25 points in 33 of his last 35 games.
The only exceptions were his 22-point effort at San Antonio on Feb. 24 and Wednesday's 19-point showing against the Nuggets, when he left the game with 4:26 remaining and the Thunder trailing by 23 in their most lopsided loss of the season.
Russell Westbrook had 15 points and nine assists, helping the Thunder record their 18th road victory — three more than their combined total the previous two seasons.
Chris Kaman had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who shot just 37.2 percent from the field. None of them had more than one field goal during the first 16 minutes of the game except for reserve forward Craig Smith, who made six of his first seven shots after missing two games with a left biceps strain. Smith finished 7 for 11 with 19 points in a foul-plagued 22 minutes.
Trailing by 11 early in the third quarter, the Clippers narrowed the gap to 68-64 on Rasual Butler's 3-pointer with 4:07 left in the period. But that was as close as they got, as the Thunder opened the fourth with an 8-0 run to extend their lead to 86-69.
Rookie James Harden, who had 17 points off the bench, set up an alley-oop dunk by Durant on a fast break with 6 minutes to play after rookie Serge Ibaka blocked a layup by Kaman at the other end.
After shooting a season-worst 32.5 percent and committing 23 turnovers Wednesday night in a 119-90 loss at Denver, Oklahoma City opened the game with an 18-6 run and led 53-46 at halftime. The Clippers were 0 for 8 from 3-point range until Butler connected with 6:26 left in the third quarter to trim Oklahoma City's lead to 61-57.
NOTES: Durant is averaging 28.7 points in 10 career games against the Clippers, compared with 24.5 in 205 games against the rest of the league. He had 40 points in a 101-93 home loss to the Clippers on Nov. 15, and 46 in a 107-104 road loss on Jan. 23, 2009 — a game in which Eric Gordon scored a career-high 41 for Los Angeles. ... Oklahoma City, which had only 18 points in the paint in the loss to Denver, matched that total on Harden's layup with 3 minutes left in the first half. But they were still outscored 38-36 in that category by the Clippers. ... Westbrook's alma matter, Leuzinger High in Lawndale, retired his uniform number on Thursday night in a ceremony that was attended by his Thunder teammates. ... The last time the Thunder played the Clippers at Staples Center, on Nov. 11, Durant made a go-ahead 14-footer with 38 seconds left to help pull out an 83-79 win.