After losing its last game on a buzzer-beater against a last-place Washington team saddled by injuries to its three top players, Oklahoma City left nothing to chance with the Timberwolves missing All-Star forward Kevin Love and four others.
The Thunder took control with 7-0 run early in the second half and stretched their lead to 24 before pulling Durant, Westbrook and the other starters with 5:44 remaining.
Alexey Shved scored 18 points for Minnesota, which announced earlier in the day that Love would miss eight to 10 weeks after breaking his right hand for the second time.
Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and 10 rebounds in the opener of a four-game road trip for the Timberwolves.
Kevin Martin chipped in 19 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which had a 12-game winning streak in the series snapped last month in Minnesota.
SPURS 108, LAKERS 105
SAN ANTONIO -- Tony Parker scored 24 points to help San Antonio hand slumping Los Angeles to its fifth straight loss.
Kobe Bryant had 27 points, Metta World Peace added 23 and Earl Clark 22 for Los Angeles. Bryant was 10 for 24 from the field, missing a 3-pointer on his final attempt that would have tied the game. Clark missed a follow-up 3 off a long rebound.
Coming off a 125-112 loss at Houston on Tuesday, the Lakers fought until the final buzzer.
CELTICS 87, SUNS 79
The Celtics survived a scoring drought that spanned almost half of the third quarter, scoring just 14 in the period before regaining the lead and taking command against the road-weary Suns, who fell to 2-16 away from home with their 11th straight road loss.
BUCKS 104, BULLS 96
CHICAGO -- Brandon Jennings scored 20 of his 35 points in the third quarter and Milwaukee beat Chicago for its second consecutive victory under interim coach Jim Boylan.
Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who have dropped their last two games against Milwaukee at the United Center. The Bulls blew a 27-point lead in the third quarter as Milwaukee snapped a nine-game losing streak against Chicago with a 93-92 victory on Nov. 26.
Boozer has recorded a double-double in six consecutive games.
HORNETS 88, ROCKETS 79
NEW ORLEANS -- Roger Mason scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to rally New Orleans to a victory over Houston.
James Harden scored 25 points for the Rockets, who had won 10 of 12. Harden, who was held to three points in the final quarter when the Rockets were outscored 28-10, was the only Houston player in double figures.
Eric Gordon struggled with five points on 2-of-12 shooting for the Hornets.
NUGGETS 108, MAGIC 105
DENVER -- Kenneth Faried scored 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to help Denver rally for a win over slumping Orlando.
Ty Lawson also finished with 19 points, including a three-point play with 1:27 remaining that gave the Nuggets the lead for good and sent them to their third straight win.
Orlando just can't get on track since Glen Davis went out with a sprained left shoulder, dropping a 10th straight game in the big man's absence. He currently isn't with the team but it was hoped he might rejoin them at some point during the current four-game trip.
JAZZ 112, BOBCATS 102
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Al Jefferson had 26 points and eight rebounds to lead Utah to its fourth win in five games with a victory over Charlotte.
The Bobcats had no answer for the 6-foot-10 Jefferson, who went 11 of 15 from the field.
Ben Gordon led six Bobcats in double figures, scoring 20 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions and Kemba Walker each had 14 points for Charlotte.
RAPTORS 90, 76ERS 72
Landry Fields set season highs with 10 points and 11 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan scored 19 and Ed Davis had 17 for the Raptors, who had lost six of their previous seven meetings with Philadelphia, including three straight.
Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young each scored 16 points, and Evan Turner had 10 as the Sixers lost for the 13th time in their last 16 games. Philadelphia has played 12 of its past 16 on the road, winning just twice.
CAVALIERS 99, HAWKS 83
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter to lead injury-riddled Cleveland over Atlanta.
Irving's big night came at a perfect time for Cleveland, which had lost five of six overall and six straight at home. The margin of victory was Cleveland's biggest of the season.
Josh Smith scored 17 points to lead Atlanta, which has lost a season-worst four straight.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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