OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant made a 3-pointer from the right wing as time expired and finished with 30 points to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 101-98 win against the New York Knicks on Saturday night.
Durant was tightly guarded by Danilo Gallinari but connected while leaning back in front of the Knicks bench to extend New York's losing streak to six games — matching their longest of the season.
The Thunder hadn't led since the first 2 minutes of the second quarter, but erased a six-point deficit in the final 3 minutes to escape their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Gallinari scored 23 points and Amare Stoudemire had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Knicks.
Oklahoma City started climbing its way back when Russell Westbrook converted a three-point play after being fouled by Toney Douglas on a jumper. Durant followed Stoudemire's miss with a jumper to get the Thunder within 96-95 with 2:07 remaining.
Raymond Felton answered with a second-chance jumper at the other end, but he missed twice as the Thunder were able to tie it with two free throws from Serge Ibaka and then one by Westbrook with 29.1 seconds left. A third miss by Felton, on a 17-footer with about 8 seconds left, opened the door for the Thunder.
Durant calmly walked back toward the Oklahoma City bench after the shot, cracking a wide smile before being swarmed and eventually knocked to the floor by his teammates.
The clutch shot had been among the few things missing from the resume of the NBA's youngest ever scoring champion. But no more.
Westbrook had 28 points and Ibaka had 11 points and 15 rebounds. Durant also had 12 rebounds and distanced himself from a brief shooting slump that materialized during Oklahoma City's back-to-back losses.
Durant had made only one-third of his shots in the Thunder's road losses to the Lakers and Nuggets, then started out 5-for-16 against New York, shaking his head when a 3-point attempt hit the front and back rim before bouncing away.
He finally broke through with a 3 from the top of the key with 50 seconds left in the third quarter, and also hit a runner during a quick 7-0 burst that got Oklahoma City back within 77-75 for the start of the fourth.
That put the Thunder right back in the thick of it after trailing most of the way.
Gallinari hit a pair of 3-pointers, including one that bounced high off the rim before falling in, during a 12-2 run that put the Knicks up 45-36 with 6:12 left before halftime. Gallinari had 18 points by that point, but picked up his third foul less than a minute later and sat out the rest of the half.
Westbrook drew the foul and then led the Thunder back within one point before New York pushed its lead back to 60-53 at halftime.
But New York could never shake Oklahoma City, then couldn't get a basket down the stretch.
Notes: Of players drafted in 2007, Durant (25.7), Jeff Green (14.1) and Wilson Chandler (14.1) have the highest career scoring averages. ... Oklahoma City G Daequan Cook played for the first time since Nov. 12 and missed his only two shots in 10 minutes on the floor. He had been on the inactive list for 18 straight games, and 28 of the past 29. ... Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said his lineup tinkering will likely be limited to switching between Chandler and Ronny Turiaf. "If we start to get on a hot streak, we'll kind of stay the same way. But we can mess with these two," D'Antoni said. "It'll probably be one or the other. It won't be radical."