LOS ANGELES, United States, Jan 11 – Lou Williams scored a career-high 50 points as the Los Angeles Clippers spoiled a milestone night for Kevin Durant with a 125-106 victory on Wednesday.
Durant became the 44th player in league history to score 20,000 career points, reaching the achievement with a pull-up jump shot late in the second quarter.
NBA finals MVP Durant needed 25 points to get to 20,000 and that is the number he finished on at the end of the first half. At age 29 he is the second youngest to do it behind LeBron James.
“He is one of the all-time greats,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr of Durant, who finished with 40 points. “There is going to be another one (milestone) in a month.
“He’s Kevin Durant. The second youngest to do it … Who is the youngest? LeBron, not bad company.”
Williams tallied 27 of his 50 points in the third quarter for the visiting Clippers who beat Golden State for the first time in more than three years.
Williams also had eight three pointers and seven assists and rookie Tyrone Wallace came off the bench to score a season-high 22 points.
“It was hard to stop him,” Durant said of Williams. “His pull-up three is a cash shot. We were too loose on him and let him go where ever he wanted.”
Elsewhere, Jimmy Butler finished with 26 points and eight assists on as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated struggling Oklahoma City 104-88, handing the Thunder their third consecutive loss.
Centre Karl-Anthony Towns tallied 18 points and 12 assists for the Timberwolves who are playing some of their best basketball of the season and have three straight resounding home wins in a row.
“When we start to compete on the defensive end like that we are tough to beat,” said Butler.
– Veteran influence –
Butler, who is in his first season with Minnesota after coming over from the Chicago Bulls, said he is trying to be one of the veteran leaders on a young team.
“Last year this team didn’t understand how important every possession is,” he said.
Andrew Wiggins finished with 19 points in 42 minutes of playing time for the Timberwolves.
Thunder star Russell Westbrook had a game-high 38 points and 10 rebounds but he didn’t get much help from his supporting cast. Carmelo Anthony continues to struggle with his new team as he finished with 15 points and one rebound.
Paul George was the only other Thunder player in double figures with 13 points as Oklahoma City has lost five of their last seven games.
The loss drops the Thunder to 22-20 on the season and into sixth place as they dropped below Portland in the Western Conference standings.
Minnesota is on the rise having beaten New Orleans, Cleveland and Oklahoma City in recent home games thanks to their improving defence and consistently solid offence.
Minnesota had won seven of eight games before a disappointing East Coast road trip featured losses at Brooklyn and Boston.
Then the Wolves beat New Orleans at home and led by as many as 34 points, a season-high mark to that point.
Hosting James and Cleveland on Monday, Minnesota dominated play, led by as many as 41 points on its way to a 127-99 victory.