Durant injures leg; Westbrook leads Thunder past Wiz 125-101
WASHINGTON (AP) Kevin Durant drove toward the basket late in the first half Tuesday night, elevated and got fouled. When the play was over, the 2013-14 NBA MVP limped a bit around the court and clutched at his strained left hamstring.
''I came down a little awkward,'' Durant said, speaking softly in a hallway outside the locker room, ''and landed on it a little harder than I wanted to and I pulled it.''
After Durant left at halftime Tuesday night because of his injury, Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook took over, compiling a triple-double with 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds to lead Oklahoma City to a 125-101 victory over the struggling Washington Wizards.
Durant missed most of last season with a broken right foot that needed three operations, and Westbrook emerged as the league's scoring champion. A similar scenario played out Tuesday, as Westbrook had 10 points, five assists and three rebounds in the third quarter to build a comfortable lead, then rested in the fourth.
''With Kevin not coming out of the locker room in the second half,'' Thunder coach Billy Donovan said, ''I thought our guys came out with great focus.''
Durant, second in the NBA in scoring entering the night, had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. Dion Waiters scored 25 points for the Thunder, who had lost three of their past four games and now are 5-3.
They have a couple of days off now, and Durant didn't sound like someone too worried about missing a lot of time with what he said was his first hamstring problem.
He called it a ''small injury'' and said he'll have an MRI exam Wednesday.
''I mean, I can walk,'' he said. ''I'm a little sore.''
Donovan said: ''I don't think it's anything too, too serious.''
John Wall had only nine points and five assists as Washington's losing streak reached three games.
Coach Randy Wittman lit into his players at his postgame news conference.
''We're just too soft of a team right now,'' he said.
''We don't defend,'' Wittman added. ''Guys drive by us at will. We don't have any toughness.''
Westbrook dominated for stretches of the third quarter, when Oklahoma City used an early 16-8 run to go ahead 84-58, its biggest margin until then. On consecutive possessions in that period, Westbrook threw down a soaring, one-handed dunk, then moments later hit a 3-pointer and wagged three fingers before pounding his chest.
''We know what we're supposed to do as a team,'' Westbrook said. ''We're trying to play a level that's championship-basketball level, and we took care of business tonight.''
Durant can become a free agent after this season, and the Wizards are among many teams expected to try to sign him, with fans adopting the slogan ''KD2DC.'' He was born in Washington and went to high school in nearby Rockville, Maryland.
Early on, Durant was booed when dribbling up court and after a pair of dunks. When he sank a pair of 3-pointers later in the first quarter, there was polite - maybe even appreciative - applause.
Asked whether he heard the fans booing, Durant laughed.
''They were?'' he replied. ''Nah. I don't care.''
At halftime, with Durant done, Donovan had to replace the six-time All-Star. The coach was thinking of using Waiters, but he's been dealing with an upset stomach. ''So I said, `Where's Dion?' and he didn't come out there,'' Donovan said, explaining that's why Kyle Singler was on the court to begin the second half.
The Wizards averaged 25 turnovers in their previous two losses, but didn't have one Tuesday until there were 5 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.
The Wizards were without their leading scorer, shooting guard Bradley Beal, because of a sore left shoulder, and reserve forward Nene sat out with back spasms.
Thunder: Shot 15 for 23 on 3s, 65.2 percent. ... Serge Ibaka scored 23 points.
Wizards: Marcin Gortat and Ramon Sessions scored 15 points apiece. ... Rookie Kelly Oubre Jr. hit the first 3-pointers of his NBA career.
Thunder: Host Philadelphia on Friday.
Wizards: Host Orlando on Saturday.