CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant scored 34 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out six assists to lead his team to an 89-85 road victory against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.
Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 18 points and seven assists.
Durant missed a 19-foot jump shot, giving the Bobcats possession down three points with 25 seconds left. Walker drove to the rim for a layup with 14 seconds left, then the Bobcats sent Thunder guard Reggie Jackson to the foul line.
Jackson missed the first and hit the second, giving the Bobcats possession down two with 10.7 seconds left. Walker penetrated and found Josh McRoberts wide open for a three-point attempt, but it rolled off the rim.
The Bobcats sent Thabo Seflosha to the line. He made both free throws with three seconds left to close out the scoring.
Five straight points by the Bobcats -- an Al Jefferson dunk and a transition 3-pointer by Josh McRoberts set up by Durant's bad-pass turnover -- cut Oklahoma City's lead to two with 5 1/2 minutes left.
Durant hit two fourth-quarter 3s to push the Thunder's lead back to six with 2 1/2 minutes left. By then the Bobcats had committed four shot-clock violations for the night. A 3-pointer by Anthony Tolliver and a drive by Kemba Walker made it a 3-point game with 49 seconds left.
The Thunder extended its lead to seven points with 8 1/2 minutes left when Bobcats guard Ben Gordon missed a corner 3, then the Thunder's Derek Fisher made the same shot at the other end of the court.
The Bobcats seemed to get in trouble early in the third quarter, slipping behind by as many as 13 before a run ending on Kemba Walker's drive to the rim cut the deficit to four. After the Thunder's timeout, Walker hit a three to make it a one-point game.
The Bobcats entered the fourth quarter trailing by two. An important difference in the third quarter was free-throw attempts. The Bobcats got to the line eight times that quarter, to none for Oklahoma City.
The Bobcats trailed 42-36 at halftime. The Thunder is among the NBA's top defensive teams and that was reflected throughout the halftime box score: The Bobcats shot just 36 percent from the field, committed eight turnovers to the Thunder's three and got to the foul line just four times to Oklahoma City's 16.
The Bobcats generated just 16 second-quarter points, a low for the season.
The Thunder got bad news earlier in the day when it lost star point guard Russell Westbrook at least through mid-February. Westbrook needed arthroscopic surgery -- his third such procedure -- to address knee swelling.
Westbrook's fill-in, Reggie Jackson, got a lot of experience in last season's playoffs, but he sure didn't handle this start well in the first half. He was 2-of-12 from the field.
The Thunder shot just as poorly from the field as the Bobcats (35.7 percent). However, it outscored the Bobcats at the foul line 9-4, and that's a statistic that is often telling about whether the Bobcats win or lose this season.
Starting small forward Anthony Tolliver went scoreless in the first half for the Bobcats, but he did a solid job guarding Durant. The perennial All-Star scored 16 in the first half, but he missed seven of his first 10 shots.
Center Al Jefferson was the only Bobcat to score in double figures before halftime. Jefferson had 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
The Bobcats start a five-game road trip, playing the Hawks in Atlanta on Saturday before flying west to play the Utah Jazz.
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