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CLEVELAND — As the score tightened, Kevin Durant stayed loose.

Sitting in his warmups on Oklahoma City’s bench, Durant knew he might be called upon again. And when he was, the NBA’s leading scorer closed out Cleveland.

“My mind’s always on the game, so I didn’t space out,” he said. “I was instantly ready.”

Durant scored 35 points, finding his shooting touch after a rough start, and made five free throws in the final minute to shut down a furious, fourth-quarter comeback and give the Thunder its 50th win, 102-95 over the injury-riddled Cavaliers on Thursday night.

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Durant missed five of his first six shots, but finally got it going. He has scored 25 or more in 33 straight games — the league’s longest streak since Michael Jordan did it 40 consecutive times in 1986-87.

With the win, the Thunder, which let a 24-point lead dwindle to five in the fourth, moved within 1½ games of San Antonio for the best record in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City played without point guard Russell Westbrook, who rested his surgically repaired knee.

Dion Waiters scored 30 and former Washington Husky Spencer Hawes had 20 for the Cavs, who trailed 95-71 with 6:34 left before going on a 21-2 run to pull within 97-92.


James Harden had 28 points with eight assists and the Houston Rockets rolled to an easy 129-106 win over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves .

Houston trailed by as many as 10 before using a big run in the second quarter to take the lead and padding the advantage with another run to start the third quarter.

It was Houston’s second straight game without Dwight Howard, who sat out with a strained left ankle.

Kevin Love had 29 points and rookie Gorgui Dieng 22 points and 21 rebounds, which were both career highs, to lead Minnesota.

Wesley Matthews had 28 points, including four three-pointers, and host Portland defeated Washington 116-103.

Damian Lillard added 23 points and 10 assists for the Blazers, who are still playing without injured All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Portland (45-24) remained in fifth place in the Western Conference.

• Milwaukee center Larry Sanders will not return this season because of a fractured right orbital bone. Sanders was injured Feb. 8 when Houston’s Harden elbowed him in the right eye as the two went for a rebound.

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