Kevin Durant knew his return to Oklahoma City would be very emotional, and it was just that. In a night that included a face-to-face confrontation with Andre Roberson, and a back-and-forth barb with Russell Westbrook, Durant had 34 points to lead his Golden State Warriors past the Oklahoma City Thunder for a third time this season, 130-114, on Saturday. The former Supersonic draft pick did have extra security in his hotel, as well as by the bench, but admitted that he expected a louder reaction from the OKC crowd. It was his first game back in Oklahoma City since leaving in free agency after eight seasons. His former teammate, Westbrook, had a nice showing with 47 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists in the losing effort. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson chipped in with 26 points each, helping Golden State cap off back-to-back impressive road wins on back-to-back nights. The Warriors scored a season-high 43 points in the second quarter, en route to a 23-point halftime lead. Durant will lead his Warriors team back to OKC in March.
Gonzaga Remains Unbeaten With Impressive Win Over Saint Mary's
Top-ranked Gonzaga has had plenty of critics question if they deserve to be No. 1, despite being undefeated, due to the lack of competition. They faced a 20th-ranked Saint Mary's team Saturday night, and still found a way to pull off a double-digit win, 74-64, to improve to 26-0. They are now 14-0 in conference play, handing the Gaels just their third loss of the year. Przemek Karnowski had 19 points, leading the Bulldogs to their 18th straight double-digit win. They have trailed in the second half in just two games, and have now swept away their toughest obstacle this season in Saint Mary's. Gonzaga used a 17-2 run late in the first half to pull away a little bit, and never looked back. Jock Landale had 24 points to lead the Gaels in their second loss to the Bulldogs this year. Gonzaga was seeded fourth overall in the preliminary NCAA tournament seedings that were revealed before Saturday's game.
Sixers Snap Heat's 13-Game Win Streak
The Miami Heat have taken full advantage of a favorable schedule as of late, en route to a 13-game win streak that has them within a game of a playoff spot. They could not extend it on the road Saturday night, falling to the Philadelphia 76ers, 117-109. Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric had 19 points apiece, helping the Sixers overcome the loss of Joel Embiid. The team announced on Saturday that the young star has a minor meniscal tear, and will miss some time, and has missed nine straight games already. Goran Dragic had 30 points for the Heat, who fell a game and a half behind the idle Detroit Pistons for the eight seed in the East. James Johnson matched a season-high with 26 points, and got his team within four in the final three minutes, while Hassan Whiteside had a double-double of 12 points and 19 rebounds. Despite the win streak being over, Miami now has themselves in great position to contend for a playoff spot the rest of the way.