(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder proved they could win without
their superstars, but hope to get Kevin Durant back in the lineup Saturday
against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.
Durant missed Friday's win at Boston with a sore right shooting shoulder,
probably because he's been on a tear lately. Durant, who's averaging an NBA-
best 31.0 points per game, has scored 30 or more points in each of his last
nine games, posting an average of 33.6 ppg in that impressive stretch.
He has reached the 36-point mark on five separate occasions during the run and
is averaging an even better 38.1 ppg and shooting 52.0 percent from the field
in the previous 11 contests. Durant has scored 45-plus points on four
occasions this month. Kobe Bryant did it five times in a month back in 2005-06
The Thunder, already without Russell Westbrook (knee), played well without the
All-Star Durant against the Celtics, posting a 101-83 victory behind Serge
Ibaka's 21 points. Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson scored 19 and 14 points,
respectively, for Oklahoma City, which has won six in a row.
"Going into the game I knew they were going to accept the challenge," Thunder
head coach Scott Brooks said of his players stepping up. "One of the things
about our team, we play hard every night. We take pride in playing hard no
matter who's on the floor."
Brooks said the team will see how Durant feels Saturday morning to determine
his playing status against the Sixers.
Perry Jones made his third career start in Durant's place and scored 10 points
for the Thunder, who shot 53.8 percent, have won three straight on the road
and are 15-7 away from the OKC this season. The Thunder will close this three-
game trek Saturday and are tied with Indiana for the most wins (34).
Philadelphia opened a three-game homestand with Friday's 104-95 loss to the
Toronto Raptors, as rookie Michael Carter-Williams led the way with 20 points
and Thaddeus Young chipped in 16.
Hollis Thompson and Spencer Hawes finished with 15 and 14 points,
respectively, for the Sixers, who failed to build on a win at New York and
lost for the eighth time in 10 tries.
"I thought at the end of the third period and the start of the fourth we
weren't able to hold the fort. They came in and guarded the heck out of us,"
Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "I always thought they were a good defensive
team, when you have to play against them it sticks out even more."
Hawes also grabbed 12 rebounds for the 76ers. Sixers guard Tony Wroten missed
his third straight game with a right ankle sprain and is questionable
Philadelphia is 8-13 at home and will wrap up the stay Monday versus Phoenix.
The 76ers and Thunder are meeting for the first time since OKC swept last
season's two-game series. The Thunder have won eight in a row overall against
Philly and their last four visits to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Sports Network