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Basketball / Sports

76ers the latest victim of Durant's and Thunder onslaught

PHILADELPHIA -- The Kevin Durant Show stopped at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. As expected, it wasn't a good showing for the 76ers.

Durant produced a triple-double in front of a pro-Durant crowd while leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-91 victory to extend their winning streak to nine games. This is Oklahoma City's third winning streak of seven games or more.

The 14-30 Sixers, meanwhile, lost their second straight game, and ninth of their last 11.

"He is the NBA's hardest player," Sixers coach Brett Brown said about Durant. "And he's always been ... incredibly difficult (to) guard."

A lot of the Thunder's success -- especially recently -- is attributable to Durant, who returned to action after taking Friday night off against the Boston Celtics with a strained right shoulder.

To the crowd's delight, the 6-foot-10, 240-pounder didn't look like someone playing with an injury. The seventh-year player finished with a game-high 32 points on an array of dunks, layups, jumpers, fadeaways, and a three-pointer. It was his 10th consecutive game in which he has scored at least 30 points.

On this night, Durant did much more than score points whenever he wanted to. He added 14 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot. In the process, the former Texas Longhorn made a lot of fans happy.

There were plenty of Oklahoma City No. 35 jerseys in the building. Two fans, sitting courtside near the Thunder bench, donned Texas T-shirts with Durant's No. 35.

He even received the loudest ovation of any player during pregame introductions. Then Sixers and Oklahoma City fans alike cheered after every positive play he made. And he made a lot.

Early in the game, he assisted on Serge Ibaka's dunk. Later in the first quarter, he stole the ball from Michael Carter-Wil liams on the Sixers' end of the court. Durant went on to score on a breakaway dunk.

It didn't matter who guarded the all-star. Durant went on to make poster-worthy moves on Carter-Williams, Hollis Thompson, James Anderson, and Dewayne Dedmon.

"We got small guys chasing him around and fronting him," Brown said. " ... And he's long and scores in a variety of ways."

Ibaka added 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots for the Thunder.

Anderson led the Sixers with 19 points, while Carter-Williams struggled through a 4-for-13 shooting performance. The rookie point guard finished with eight points.

Sixers sixth man Tony Wroten returned to action after missing three games with a sprained right ankle. The backup point guard finished with six points in 15 minutes.

"I've been working hard with (Sixers head athletic trainer Kevin Johnson) in the rehab," Wroten said before the game. "My ankle feels a lot better. ... Coming in and (rehabbing) this morning, then coming in early before the game helped a lot."

He suffered the injury early in the second quarter of a 103-78 setback to the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 15.

(c)2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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