Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives on Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith (6) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Kevin Durant had 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to propel the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 119-110 victory over the Detroit Pistons tonight.
Rookie Steven Adams played a key role for Oklahoma City, dominating inside when Detroit’s post players were in foul trouble. Adams finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook scored 20 points despite missing 14 of his 19 field-goal attempts.
Josh Smith finished with 25 points for Detroit before fouling out, while Greg Monroe (20 points, 15 rebounds) and Brandon Jennings (22 points, 11 assists) added double-doubles.
The Thunder led by 10 early in the fourth, but struggled to put Detroit away. The Pistons got within 88-84, but didn’t have an answer for Durant down the stretch. Smith committed his fifth foul trying to guard him with 5:07 left, and Durant hit both free throws to give him 30 points and move the Oklahoma City lead to 101-89. Smith fouled out moments later, and picked up a technical foul on his way off the floor.
Oklahoma City threatened to break the game open in the second quarter, leading by as many as 11 as the Pistons continued to struggle to score from outside. Jennings and Monroe, though, combined for 10 points in the final two minutes of the half, pulling Detroit within 55-51. Durant and Westbrook combined for 27 points in the half, while Monroe had 13 points and eight rebounds for Detroit.
The Pistons went ahead on back-to-back three-point plays by Monroe and Smith midway through the third, but Smith immediately committed his fourth foul and had to join Andre Drummond on the bench. Six straight points by Durant forced Drummond back in with four fouls, but Jeremy Lamb’s 3-pointer at the buzzer let Oklahoma City take an 84-76 lead into the fourth.
NOTES: Detroit Tigers President Dave Dombrowski had one of the best seats in the house, sitting courtside just two spots away from the halfcourt line. ... Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks, who came to Detroit after a stint as an assistant in Oklahoma City, got an enthusiastic pregame welcome from the Thunder. Durant grabbed Cheeks in a playful headlock, while Thunder coach Scott Brooks and several players rushed over to embrace him. ... Durant earned a spot on the nightly blooper reels when he lost his grip on the ball while driving for a baseline dunk. As Durant’s empty hands came down on the basket, the ball looped over the Pistons bench and into the stands.