The Oklahoma City Thunder barely got by with a win their last time out and hope to make it easier on themselves in Friday's road bout against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Thunder squeezed out a 95-94 victory at New York Thursday evening as Kevin Durant's go-ahead free throws late in the fourth quarter lifted his team past the Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks. Durant had 34 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and hit two free throws with 1:38 remaining for the go-ahead points.
"We've been hurt on those game-winners a couple of times this year and we didn't want that to happen again," Durant said. "So we just had to lock in and get a stop."
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Martin scored 21 and 16 points, respectively, for Oklahoma City, which has won three in a row and six of seven games.
Oklahoma City is 18-12 as the guest and second in the West standings -- 2 1/2 games behind the San Antonio Spurs.
Charlotte faces a stiff challenge Friday and is mired in an eight-game slide.
The losing trend continued for the Bobcats on Wednesday in a 99-78 setback to the Brooklyn Nets. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored a team-high 17 points and Ben Gordon added 16 points off the bench in defeat.
"I was just trying to put in my part and be active on the boards, and on offense and defense be active," said Kidd-Gilchrist. "Unfortunately we got the loss tonight, so that (his performance) doesn't mean anything in my book."
Kemba Walker recorded 10 points and eight assists, and is averaging 17.6 points and 5.9 assists in his last nine games. He has scored 10-plus points eight times during the stretch.
The Bobcats are winless in four straight at home and sport a 7-23 ledger at Time Warner Cable Arena this season.
Charlotte was trounced, 114-69, in Oklahoma City on Nov. 26 this season and has lost four straight and 11 of the 16 meetings between the teams. The Thunder, though, have lost four of the last six trips to Charlotte.