This was a matter of the Hawks wanting anyone besides Durant to beat them, and Durant beating them anyway.
DOLLINGER: Durant, OKC take top spot in latest Power Rankings
With 10 seconds remaining and the score tied at 109, Reggie Jackson milked the clock at the top of the key. Durant popped out to receive the ball with seven seconds remaining, and Atlanta immediately rushed a second defender at him in hopes of taking the game out of his hands.
Instead, Durant drove to his right, away from the extra attention, using three dribbles to get into position for a pull-up, mid-range jumper. Both DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott rose to contest the shot, but Durant knocked it down with relative ease over both of them.
"Not fair, Kevin Durant," the Hawks' official Twitter account wrote on Monday.
Durant finished with a game-high 41 points (on 15-for-25 shooting), five assists and four rebounds. The NBA's leading scorer (at 31.3 points per game) topped 40 points for the sixth time this season and the fifth time in January, as he scored 13 fourth-quarter points and accounted for Oklahoma City's final seven points of the game.
"I'm just trying to inspire the team by my play," Durant said, according to DailyThunder.com. "Just playing hard, being emotional. Hopefully it helps."
Over his last 13 games, Durant is averaging 37.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals while shooting 53.7 percent overall, 41.5 percent from deep and 88.1 percent from the free throw line. That stretch helped make him an SI.com panel's most popular midseason MVP pick.
Here's a look at his winner.
Kevin Durant hits a game-winner to beat the Hawks. (Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
Jackson added 18 points (on 7-for-17 shooting), five assists and three rebounds for the Thunder.
Paul Millsap tallied 23 points (on 9-for-19 shooting), eight rebounds and four assists for Atlanta. Six other Hawks finished in double figures.
The game-winning shot secured Oklahoma City's eighth straight victory and improved the Thunder's record to a West-leading 36-10. The Hawks dropped to 23-21 with the loss.