AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The Oklahoma City Thunder showed Friday it has other options when Kevin Durant is covered during a tight game.
Jeff Green made a layup with 2.5 seconds left, lifting Oklahoma City to a 105-104 win over the Detroit Pistons.
“Everybody in the gym thought KD was going to get the ball,” Detroit’s Ben Gordon said. “We did a helluva job not letting him catch it.”
But the Pistons did an awful job of defending Green, who made the last of many easy shots against them.
“The play was for Kevin, but I saw he wasn’t open,” Green said. “I tried to get into the lane and either get a basket or get a foul.”
Detroit was out of timeouts at the end of the game and failed to attempt a shot, allowing the Thunder to spoil the Pistons’ home opener for the second straight season.
The Thunder made its first 24 free throws and 37 of 44 overall, but Durant missed one with 14 seconds left, and Serge Ibaka split a pair with 18 seconds to go.
“I was kicking myself,” said Durant, who had 30 points for the second straight game after leading the league in scoring last season. “But I knew I had to knock the second one down. I owe Jeff something now, because he picked me up there.”
The Pistons’ Charlie Villanueva made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left, but Detroit’s decision to deny Durant the ball at all costs backfired.