Kevin Durant continued his prolific scoring streak with 43 points on Wednesday to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 104-93 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
Durant, who tied an NBA season-high with 47 points last week against the Minnesota Timberwolves, recorded his third 40-point effort in four games and added 10 rebounds to lead the Northwest Division-leading Thunder.
The NBA's leading scorer made 14 of 19 shots including five three-pointers during another stellar performance.
He's probably the MVP of the league right now, Hornets coach Monty Williams told reporters. You put a string of games together like that and you put yourself in a different class.
Oklahoma City (31-17) trailed by six points at halftime but grabbed the lead with a 32-17 run in the third quarter.
New Orleans pulled within six points in the fourth but Durant countered with nine points during a 12-4 run that put the game safe.
David West had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Hornets (32-19) who have now lost three of four following their 10-game winning streak.
New Orleans lost starting forward Trevor Ariza to an ankle injury in the third quarter, while Chris Paul missed 11 minutes of action when he hurt his ankle in the first before later returning.
The Hornets were already playing without starting center Emeka Okafor who is currently sidelined with a stomach injury.
New Orleans defeated the Thunder last week 91-89 on a last-second shot by West, but with Oklahoma City's latest triumph they finished 3-1 against the Hornets to win the season series.
We knew we could (win) the tiebreaker if we won this game, said Durant, whose team now has an advantage if the teams were to finish with identical records. We got that in the back of our minds. That's what it was all about for us.