AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 28 points, Russell Westbrook added 22 points and 11 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Detroit Pistons 96-94 on Sunday night.
The Pistons have lost 12 straight, two short of the franchise record. Detroit’s last win came on Nov. 14 in overtime at Oklahoma City, a game that both Durant and Westbrook missed due to injury.
Serge Ibaka added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Thunder, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Detroit with 19 points.
The Thunder led 77-75 going into the fourth, then scored the first seven points of the period, including another four-shot possession. Oklahoma City’s surge got an exclamation point when Westbrook broke through the Detroit defense and dunked on Josh Smith.
The Pistons pulled back within 93-92 on Kyle Singler’s 3-pointer with 2:18 to play, but Durant answered with his first 3-pointer of the game.
Andre Drummond’s dunk made it a two-point game with 31 seconds left, and Westbrook missed, but Smith, one of the worst 3-point shooters in the league, missed badly from behind the arc.
Durant and Westbrook combined for 25 points in the first half, but like their teammates, were uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball. The Thunder had eight turnovers and missed five free throws, three by Westbrook, allowing Detroit to lead by as many as 11.
In the meantime, the Pistons were bouncing back from Saturday’s overtime loss to the 76ers, when they went 0 for 11 from the floor while being outscored 8-1 in the extra session. Detroit was able to convert at the rim, something that has been a major problem all season.
Things changed drastically in the third quarter, as Oklahoma City began to dominate at the rim. They had one five-shot possession that ended with a Andre Roberson’s tip-in, and took a 70-69 lead on Westbrook’s 3-pointer late in the quarter.
THUNDER: Forward Mitch McGary was called up before the game from the Thunder’s D-League affiliate in Oklahoma City, but was inactive. McGary, who has yet to make his NBA debut due to injuries, is still enormously popular in Detroit because of his college career at Michigan, where he helped lead the Wolverines to the 2013 NCAA title game.
PISTONS: With Drummond and Smith both in foul trouble in the first half, Stan Van Gundy gave Jonas Jerebko 13 minutes before intermission, a change to the normal rotation. In recent games, Jerebko has gotten most of his playing time in the second half. . The Pistons had 14-game losing streaks in both 1979-80 and 1993-94.
THUNDER: Host Milwaukee on Tuesday.
PISTONS: Host Portland on Tuesday.