Kevin Durant returned against Utah Jazz for Thunder on Monday. Star forward Durant was marked by quality wing defenders in the Jazz roster like Gordon Hayward, Joe Ingles and Rodney Hood.
But Durant displayed his class by posting 27 points and guiding Oklahoma City Thunder to a 111-89 win. Durant was ruled out with a hamstring injury earlier.
Thunder shot season-high 54.5 percent on Monday. Durant notched up 18 points in the first half, and Russel Westbrook added 12 more to Thunder’s rally. Jazz led at the end of the first quarter, but Durant’s high-voltage display has brought Oklahoma City Thunder to the drivers seat.
Thunder led 63-46 at half time. Russel Westbrook added 8 more points in the third quarter, and Oklahoma extended their lead to a convincing 84-59 at the later stages of the third quarter. Kevin Durant finished with 27 points and Westbrook scored 20 as Thunder held on to their lead in the final quarter to win 111-89.
Earlier, Thunder played six games without Kevin Durant and were at 3-3. Point guard Russel Westbrook became the key man in the absence of Durant for Oklahoma. He averaged 32.7 points, 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game in that span.
Durant sustained the left hamstring injury on November 10 during Thunder’s win over the Washington Wizards. Durant underwent three foot surgeries last season, which limited him to just 27 games. This was his first hamstring injury after that.
Durant wasn’t cleared to play on Sunday night’s game against Dallas which Oklahoma won. After Monday’s win, Durant cited that it was their defense that made all the difference.