MIAMI — Down by 18 points midway through the opening quarter, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder looked well on their way to witnessing a rout.
That’s exactly what happened.
And they enjoyed every moment.
Durant remained sizzling with 33 points, Serge Ibaka added 22 and the Thunder roared back from an abysmal start — they trailed 22-4 early — to embarrass the Miami Heat 112-95 on Wednesday night, erasing that big deficit out of the gate by outscoring the two-time defending champions by 43 points over a 33-minute span.
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“They were ready for us to come in and play,” Durant said. “They hit some tough shots early on, a few threes, and we didn’t panic. We just tried to stay together, and that’s what we did. Our bench was great in getting us back in that game.”
The Thunder led by as many as 25, and shot 16 for 27 from three-point range.
Durant has scored at least 30 points in 12 straight games, matching the league’s longest such streak since Tracy McGrady did it in 14 consecutive outings in the 2002-03 season.
LeBron James scored 34 points for Miami. After the game, James apologize for using the word “retarded” while answering a question posed in a pregame interview.
James says the word’s usage is a bad habit that he’s trying to break, and that he’ll try not to use it again.
“I mean no disrespect,” James said.
Nate Robinson injured
Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson, the former Rainier Beach High School and UW standout, left Wednesday night’s game against visiting Charlotte Bobcats in the first quarter with a left knee injury.
Robinson had started the game in place of injured point guard Ty Lawson, who remains day to day after suffering a left rotator-cuff strain in Sunday night’s game at Sacramento.
The Nuggets said Robinson was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Thursday to evaluate the injury, which the team initially described as a sprain.
Charlotte beat the Nuggets 101-98 behind Al Jefferson’s 35 points.
• Kevin Love had 30 points and 14 rebounds to finally carry the host Minnesota Timberwolves over the .500 mark with an 88-77 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Timberwolves (23-22) got over .500 after failing in their previous 10 chances.
The Pelicans were missing star forward Anthony Davis with a dislocated left index finger, an injury that is not expected to cost him any more games.
• Houston’s James Harden missed his second straight game with a bruised thumb on his shooting hand but the Rockets still won, 117-115 at Dallas.
• San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili will miss the next three to four weeks with a strained left hamstring.
• The Detroit Pistons’ game at the Atlanta Hawks was postponed due to the winter storm that has made travel unsafe in Atlanta.
• Guard Goran Dragic scored 30 points before sustaining an apparent injury to his left elbow, leading visiting Phoenix to a 126-117 win over Milwaukee.