Russell Westbrook drained a big three, strolled down the Philips Arena court and fired off a few rounds with his pair of finger "guns" toward the crowd at Philips Arena. It was just one of those nights folks, where the Atlanta Hawks could just not get over the hump -- or the taunts from this young Oklahoma City Thunder team.
Kevin Durant posted 29 points and grabbed eight boards and Westbrook added 28 and nine assists to lead the Thunder to a 111-104 win over the Hawks on Friday night.
Joe Johnson had 24 and Kirk Hinrich added 21 for Atlanta, which turned the ball over 16 times.
"The disappointing thing was the physicality," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "They played with and we did not. We didn't get after loose balls. We didn't get out on the floor. They fought screens. I thought they played with physicality that we did not match. That's playoff caliber basketball."
The Hawks entered this one shorthanded as Josh Smith missed his second straight game with a sore right knee. Atlanta had hoped to enter this one without Durant, the NBA's leading scorer. But the former Rookie of the Year participated in the team's shootaround and cracked the starting lineup. His sore left ankle was better.
With Durants' return, Atlanta's chances took a turn for the worse.
Of course, it didn't help matters that Al Horford missed a lot of the first half in foul trouble and Johnson sat for part of the second with a bloody lip.
Nevertheless, the Hawks were in this one until the end, cutting the lead to 102-100 on Marvin Williams' putback layup with 1:27 left in the contest. But Westbrook went to work, taking a pass from Durant and draining a big 3-pointer with 62 ticks left to post the Thunder for a five point lead as Westbrook showboated on the floor.
"Westbrook made a big three," Drew said. "The only thing I can say about him is we didn't contest it."
Atlanta failed to convert on its next two trips on the floor sandwiched around a karma-induced Westbrook air ball as Oklahoma City ran its way to yet another win.
"I think they did a good job," Horford told the team's TV broadcast afterward. "Obviously, we want Josh back as soon as we can. But obviously, (Oklahoma City) did a good job penetrating. (They) hit a lot of jump shots. We kept getting close. We kept on playing hard out there, but our defense wasn't as good."
Jamal Crawford had 19 off of the bench and Horford posted 15 points and 12 boards for the Hawks, who take on the New York Knicks on Sunday night at Philips Arena.