OKLAHOMA CITY - With Kevin Durant hitting practically every shot he took, the Oklahoma City Thunder didn't have to worry about losing another game by a single point.
The Miami Heat never made it that close.
Durant scored 36 points on the most efficient shooting night of his career and also pulled down 10 rebounds as the Thunder beat the road-weary Heat, 98-80, on Saturday night.
“I really was just proud of how we responded as a team after two tough losses. We could have easily just packed it in but we came out and responded and played hard from the beginning,” Durant said. “That’s what I’m most proud of.
“You can throw away all I did. I’m just proud of how we came out and got the win.”
Durant went 14 for 18 from the field to finish at 77 percent, the highest mark of his three-year career. He made 13 of his first 14 shots, mostly jumpers, as the Thunder got out to a sizzling start and led by double digits throughout the second half.
“He can put the ball in the basket. There’s not too many guys that’s going to be able to stop him from doing that,” said Dwyane Wade, who provided one of Durant’s misses by blocking a jump shot. “With his height, he’s 7-foot something when he goes up to shoot. He’s very tough to defend.”
Michael Beasley matched his career high with 28 points and Wade had 24 points and six assists, breaking Tim Hardaway’s career record for the most assists in a Miami uniform. He needed five in the game to match Hardaway’s total of 2,867 and got there midway through the third quarter after setting up five dunks.
The Heat finished its longest road trip of the season at 3-3 but is hardly done with a brutal stretch on its schedule. Miami gets a one-game reprieve in Florida before playing 19 of 24 games on the road.