When the Oklahoma City Thunder last beat a Western Conference playoff contender, it prompted such embarrassment that the opposing team's owner threatened a shake-up and called out every player on his roster.
Maybe another notch on the Thunder's belt will prove that first big win wasn't a fluke.
Kevin Durant scored 25 points, Thabo Sefolosha added 12 and Oklahoma City spoiled Gregg Popovich's 1,000th game as San Antonio's coach by overcoming an early 17-point deficit to beat the Spurs 78-76 on Monday night.
Earlier in the day, Durant _ who, along with second-leading scorer Jeff Green, missed Oklahoma City's 96-87 win against Dallas two weeks ago _ questioned why the perception from that game was that the Mavericks played poorly instead of that the Thunder had vastly improved.
"That was upsetting to see that. It was, `They did something wrong,'" Durant said. " ... Just give a little credit to us that we played all right that game."
Then he and his teammates went out and got an even more impressive victory against the team with the second-best record in the Western Conference.
"I think from a team standpoint, this is one of our better wins. Obviously it's against probably the best opponent that we've ever had a win against," said Chucky Atkins, whose 3-pointer from the left wing with 7:37 remaining gave Oklahoma City its first lead, 70-67.
Durant pushed the edge to 76-72 with a jumper from the left wing, and the lead was back to four when Russell Westbrook answered Tony Parker's two free throws with another jumper.
Popovich stood with his arms crossed as the Spurs' chances slipped away, with Nenad Krstic snagging an offensive rebound in the final minutes to let Oklahoma City drain the clock further.
San Antonio had one final chance after Westbrook's miss with 18 seconds left, but Parker missed a jumper and then had his last-second 3-pointer blocked by Sefolosha.
"We had a couple of big leads in the first half and the second half, and they never gave in," Popovich said. "They did a great job. We made some poor decisions down the stretch, they made some better ones, and they got the game. They deserved it."
Parker scored 28 points to lead San Antonio, and Tim Duncan had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Matt Bonner added 10 points.
Popovich became the 24th coach to reach 1,000 games and only the seventh to do it with one team. Only Phil Jackson (731) and Pat Riley (716) had more wins in their first 1,000 games than Popovich, who is 676-324.
The Spurs had a game trimmed off of their lead on second-place Houston and now lead the Rockets by 1 1/2 games in the Southwest division.
"I thought we started well and finished poorly," Duncan said. "They made a run in the middle there and we just couldn't contain them."
Rockets 95, Hornets 84
At New Orleans, Ron Artest scored all of his 18 points in the second half to help the Rockets overcame the absence of center Yao Ming, who sat out with flu-like symptoms.
Luis Scola had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Aaron Brooks also scored 14 and Houston ended New Orleans' five-game home winning streak.
Chris Paul had 29 points and 11 assists, and David West had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets.
Bobcats 112, Raptors 86
At Charlotte, N.C., Gerald Wallace scored 25 points and the Bobcats snapped a three-game losing streak.
D.J. Augustin added 15 points for Charlotte, which moved within one game of idle Milwaukee and Chicago in the crowded race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Chris Bosh had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the sloppy Raptors, who committed 24 turnovers and lost for the eighth time in nine games.
Trail Blazers 103, Grizzlies 92
At Memphis, Tenn., LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Brandon Roy finished with 20 points and nine assists for Portland.
Travis Outlaw added 18 points and Joel Przybilla had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Portland entered the game in the sixth spot in the West.
O.J. Mayo scored 21 points and handed out six assists to lead Memphis, which lost its 13th in 15 games. Mike Conley had 20 points and Rudy Gay score 17 and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies.
Nuggets 121, Nets 96
At Denver, J.R. Smith and Nene scored 19 points each, Chauncey Billups had 14 points and 10 assists and the Nuggets extended their winning streak to three.
Vince Carter scored 32 points for the Nets, who went 0-4 on the Western portion of their five-game road trip. New Jersey plays at the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
The Nets played without injured point guard Devin Harris and forward Sean Williams, who was arrested Monday at a cell phone store in a mall in suburban Denver on accusations he got into an argument with a clerk and threw a computer monitor.
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