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Thunder At Hawks: Durant Leads Oklahoma City To 56-51 Edge At The Break

The good news is that the Atlanta Hawks are somehow in this game. The bad news is that Kevin Durant's ankle is fine and he's scoring from all over the arena.

Durant has 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and James Harden has 15 off the bench to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 56-51 lead over the Hawks at the break.

Joe Johnson has 16 points and Kirk Hinrich has 12 for Atlanta in a game that hasn't featured much of Al Horford.

Horford is in foul trouble and has played for just a little more than 11 minutes.

Some more good news: the Hawks haven't had much of a problem penetrating in the paint. The bad news is that the Thunder haven't either. Both teams are shooting over 50-percent from the field and combined for seven 3-pointers over the first 24 minutes.

In order for Atlanta to rally back in this one, they are going to have to slow down the Thunder's transition game and start playing defense. Without Josh Smith and with Horford in a bit of foul trouble, the Hawks simply to not have the offensive firepower to play a run-and-gun game.

That's not going to be easy against a Thunder team that boasts the elite Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Atlanta's also going to have to do a better job on the glass. Although they were much better in the second quarter, they trail Oklahoma City 16-14 in that category. Controlling the boards will go a long way to limiting Durant's touches.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.