NBA Wrap: Durant leads Thunder past Clippers

slideshow-thunder-kevin-durant-uspresswire.jpg

NBA Wrap: Durant leads Thunder past Clippers

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant had 28 points and eight assists, another Thunder fan hit a half-court heave and Oklahoma City beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-91 Thursday night.

For the second straight game, a Thunder rooter made a midcourt basket during a second-quarter promotion to win $20,000. High school business teacher Brad Brucker was congratulated by recording artists Beyonce and Jay-Z, who sat in courtside seats next to Durant's family.

Serge Ibaka scored 17 points and blocked three shots and Russell Westbrook added 12 points for Oklahoma City, which has won its first five home games of the season for the first time since starting 2004-05 in Seattle.

Oklahoma City led all the way, taking a quick 10-point advantage and never leading by less than six points after that in the matchup of Western Conference powers.

Blake Griffin scored 27 points on 12-for-23 shooting and also had 10 rebounds for the Clippers. He's had a 20-10 double in 10 of the last 12 games, and has posted an NBA-high 100 such games since the start of the 2010-11 season (see full recap).

Nuggets end Bulls' five-game streak
DENVER -- Nate Robinson and Jordan Hamilton each hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter, helping the Denver Nuggets pull away for a 97-87 victory against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Hamilton finished with 17 points to lead the Nuggets, who their seventh straight against the Bulls at the Pepsi Center. J.J. Hickson had 14 points, Kenneth Faried had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Randy Foye also scored 12 points.

Derrick Rose had 19 points for the Bulls, who snapped a five-game winning streak.

Robinson, who spent last season with the Bulls, started a 12-0 burst when he hit successive 3s opening the final period. Hamilton matched him by making 3s on consecutive possessions and the Nuggets' lead ballooned to 82-62 with 9:40 left.

Chicago managed to pull to 94-83, but Robinson, who had 10 of his 11 points in the final period, responded by hitting a 12-foot bank shot to help quash the Bulls' late momentum (see full recap).

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?

Reports: Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans

Reports: Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS -- The Sacramento Kings have agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Tyreke Evans, 2016 first-round draft pick Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round draft picks this summer, a person familiar with the situation said Sunday night.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade is not official and has not been announced by either team.

The deal pairs the 6-foot-11 Cousins, a frontcourt All-Star from nearby Mobile, Alabama, with the 6-11 Anthony Davis, who on Sunday night was the All-Star Game MVP after scoring 52 points, breaking Wilt Chamberlain's 1962 record of 42.

The move also sends a message that the Pelicans are committed to a push for a playoff spot.

New Orleans (23-34) went into the All-Star break 2 games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff seeding in the Western Conference.

Cousins, like Davis a former collegiate star at Kentucky, is averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds this season. But he is due to become a free agent in 2018 unless the Pelicans can sign him to an All-Star caliber extension.

The Kings get a player with a lot of potential in Hield, although he has been inconsistent during his rookie season out of Oklahoma, where as a senior he was one of the best players in the nation.

Hield is averaging 8.6 points but has been explosive at times, with a season high of 21 points. The 6-6 Evans, who can play point guard, shooting guard or small forward, will be entering a second stint in Sacramento, where he was drafted in 2009 and went on to be Rookie of the Year. Galloway has been a solid reserve, providing scoring punch from the perimeter.

The 6-9 Casspi has been playing about 19 minutes per game for the Kings this season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.