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Durant, Westbrook carry Thunder past Bucks

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Associated Press
November 28, 2009
— Russell Westbrook easily won the matchup of young point guards, and the Oklahoma City Thunder had no trouble with the Milwaukee Bucks, either.

Kevin Durant had 33 points and 12 rebounds, Westbrook outplayed rookie Brandon Jennings, and the Thunder beat the Bucks 108-90 on Friday night.


Westbrook scored nine of his 20 points during a 17-0 run over the first 6 minutes of the second half. He also helped hold Jennings to 3-of-11 shooting and 12 points, 11.4 below his average.


"I just went out and did what I could to help my team. He's a good player and he's going to be a good player," Westbrook said. "My job as a point guard is to get us going, especially on the defensive end, whether it's rebounding or passing the ball or defending, just get our team going on the right track."


Before a capacity crowd at the Ford Center and an ESPN audience, the Thunder began a season-high, five-game homestand with their sixth win in nine games.


"Russell was really good tonight," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He did a great job on Brandon Jennings, and that's not an easy cover. That kid is doing some incredible things the first six weeks of the season."


Carlos Delfino and Hakim Warrick each scored 15 points for Milwaukee, and Ersan Ilysasova grabbed 12 rebounds.


The Thunder led 51-50 at halftime, then scored 17 straight points. Milwaukee was 0 for 13 in the second half before scoring with 5:29 left in the third quarter on Michael Redd's basket. The Bucks never got closer than 10 points after the spree.


"We had a good talk in here at halftime and we all just decided to play harder," Durant said. "We did a great job of stopping Jennings from getting into the lane and doing what he wanted to on the offensive end."


Jennings had only two points in the game until making a free throw with 35 seconds left in the third quarter. He scored 10 points in the next three minutes.


"I was looking to score a little more," Jennings said. "I just wasn't knocking anything down."


Much of that was because of Westbrook, the second-year point guard who downplayed the matchup with Jennings.


"I don't get buzzed up for anybody. I just go out and play my game, regardless of who it is. It could be Chris Paul, him, Deron Williams, Steve Nash," Westbrook said. "There are a lot of good point guards in this league. You can't just talk about one, and I just go out and do what I can."


The Thunder made six of their first nine shots, while Milwaukee missed 10 of 13 as Oklahoma City built a 16-9 lead. Oklahoma City was 10 for 10 on free throws before James Harden missed a pair with 28 seconds left in the first period.


Oklahoma City led 31-26 after one period, as Milwaukee shot poorly overall but made 4 of 7 from 3-point range and was 6 for 6 on free throws. After the Thunder took a 35-29 lead early in the second quarter, the Bucks outscored Oklahoma City 17-5 to go up 46-40 with six minutes left in the first half.


NOTES: Milwaukee and Oklahoma City are two of the youngest and most improved teams in the NBA. "It's very difficult to win in this league with young, inexperienced players because they're too inconsistent," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. ... Milwaukee assistant coach Kelvin Sampson returned to familiar territory. He coached at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, an Oklahoma City suburb. Both of his children graduated from Norman High School and OU. "I love coaching in the NBA," Sampson said. "The talent of the players is extraordinary, and the teams really play great basketball. There are a lot of misconceptions about the league." The Thunder waived forward Ryan Bowen and signed point guard Mike Wilks.



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