OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant hit a season-high five 3-pointers and scored 33 points, Russell Westbrook finished off a triple-double with his 10th assist in the final seconds and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Atlanta Hawks 103-94 on Friday night.
Durant went 3 for 3 on 3s during a 16-6 run in the fourth quarter as the Thunder put the game away after Atlanta had pulled within two points.
Westbrook finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists — the last coming when he rushed the ball up to Serge Ibaka for a dunk with 6.9 seconds left instead of running out the clock. Players from both teams stayed on the court for a few moments after the game as the Hawks were apparently upset by the final sequence.
Jamal Crawford led Atlanta with 26 points and Josh Smith scored 23. Smith had to come out of the game for a while after he was cut on his head in the third quarter, and he only scored two points after returning in the fourth.
The Hawks never led after the opening 4 minutes but pulled to 83-81 after Zaza Pachulia's layup to start the fourth quarter but then went more than 5 minutes without another basket.
James Harden answered with a jumper with one second left on the shot clock, and Durant followed by rattling in a 3-pointer from the left wing as the Thunder started to rebuild their lead. Eric Maynor added a 3 of his own, and Durant hit two more 3s — one from the right wing and one from the top of the key — as Oklahoma City's edge stretched to 99-87 with 4:42 to play.
It was a fitting finish to a year that saw Durant emerge as a superstar.
Durant was a first-time All-Star, became the youngest scoring champion in NBA history, led the Thunder to the playoffs for the first time and then was the MVP of the U.S. national team's run to its first world championship since 1994.
Oklahoma City finished the calendar year at 55-29 — among the best five records in the NBA — while becoming a sudden contender.
On New Year's Eve two years ago, the Thunder beat Golden State to improve their record to 4-29 and provide one of the first glimmers of hope that the franchise wasn't doomed to have the worst record in a season in NBA history. Last year, a one-point victory against Utah gave Oklahoma City its first five-game winning streak in more than four years.
At that point, the Thunder were 18-14 and just starting to show playoff potential. Now, they're firmly entrenched as one of the league's rising young teams.
Atlanta, which trailed by as much as 14 in the first half, cut a 10-point deficit down to 69-66 with a third-quarter burst that included the trip to the locker room by Smith.
Smith was fouled by Durant and then Ibaka whacked him on the head during his follow through when he blocked Smith's shot. Smith held his head as he headed toward the locker room, and the Hawks had to burn a timeout to give him time to return and shoot his free throws or else rule him out for the rest of the game.
Smith hit both his foul shots, then went right back to the locker room before Mike Bibby's 3-pointer got Atlanta within three.
The Thunder answered with their own 7-0 run, capped by Durant's buzzer-beating 3-pointer from 28 feet that made it 76-66 with 4 minutes left in the quarter.
Smith appeared to be among the most upset Hawks when the game was over, perhaps because it was Ibaka again that was involved in what seemed to be some unnecessary showmanship.
Joe Johnson added 16 points and 11 assists for Atlanta, and Al Horford had 14 points. Marvin Williams missed the game with a lower back injury and was replaced in the starting lineup by Jason Collins, who didn't score.
Harden had 15 points, Jeff Green scored 10 and Ibaka had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City.
NOTES: Hawks coach Larry Drew isn't particularly fond of playing on New Year's Eve. "I like the holidays and I like being able to spend time with the family, with friends, during the holidays," he said. "Every time our schedule comes out, it's the first thing I look at. I look at where we are on the holidays, I look at where we are during my birthday." ... Atlanta is 1-4 without Williams, who missed four games earlier this season with a bone bruise in his right knee.