Durant too much for Hawks (updated)

Kevin Durant should be a verb. As in the Hawks were Durant-ed Monday night.

The Thunder star scored with 1.5 seconds remaining, the final of his game-high 41 points, in a come-from-behind 111-109 over the Hawks Monday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Hawks went toe-to-toe with the best of the West - and came up just short as they couldn’t hold a 14-point lead.

“The superstars are the guys who take over at the end of games,” Kyle Korver said. “There are a few of them and Kevin Durant is probably doing it better than anybody else right now.”

Durant capped the Thunder’s comeback with 13 fourth-quarter points. He tied the game, 107-107, with 2:11 remaining. The Hawks followed with a shot-clock violation but Durant missed a jumper coming the other way. Shelvin Mack missed but got his own rebound. Paul Millsap then got a rebound of a Mike Scott miss as the Hawks retained possession with less than 45 seconds remaining. However, Millsap was called for travelling with 34.5 seconds left.

Durant hit another jumper, off a clear shove of defender DeMarre Carroll to get separation, with 25.5 seconds left to give the Thunder a 109-107 lead. It was their first advantage since a 2-0 start.

Millsap scored less than three seconds later for another tie that set up Durant’s final shot.

The Hawks attempt to get the ball to Millsap for a final chance failed.

“We tried to send a second defender at him,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We’ll look at it on film. I think he just rose up and shot it over both guys. It’s a credit to him. That is why he is one of the best players in our league. We love the challenge of trying to guard him at the end of the game. Tonight, he made the shot. We’ll take our chances with our guys again every night.”

Durant drove to his right with Carroll on his hip and Scott chasing from behind. Korver even stepped in. The league MVP candidate still sunk the 12-foot pull-up jumper.

“I’ve been studying him all day yesterday and today,” Carroll said. “He is not consistent going to the right but he proved me wrong. I didn’t want him to get back to the left hand. He hit a tough shot.”

The Hawks (23-21) had seven double-digit scorers led by Millsap’s 23 points. Scott (16), Mack (15), Carroll (15), Korver (14), Lou Williams (10) and Dennis Schroder (10) were the others. Gustavo Ayon had 10 rebounds. Korver extended his NBA-record streak to 113 games with a 3-pointer.

The Thunder (36-10), with the best record in the Western Conference, won their eighth straight game.

Durant, who entered the game as the NBA’s leading scorer at 31.1 points, improved his average the 41 points. It was the 11th straight game the Thunder star scored 30 or more points. It was his sixth 40-point game of the season.

“He is a great player,” Mack said. “That is what great players do. That is why he is in the conversation for MVP. He made some tough shots down the stretch. You can’t do anything about that.”

The Hawks took an 87-79 lead into the final quarter but were outscored 32-22. They led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter and 14 points in the second quarter. They took a 57-50 lead into the intermission.

Five of the first six Hawks’ baskets were 3-pointers and they finished the first half shooting 8 of 11 from beyond the arc. Mack hit three of the 3-pointers, all in a row, as the Hawks jumped out early. Schroder hit two of the first-half 3-pointers en route to matching his career-high of 10 points in just two quarters.

The Hawks lost a game, despite the opponent and despite playing without two starters, and it was a tough pill to swallow.

“Losing is very hard in this league,” Budenholzer said. “Our guys are hurting. You give Oklahoma City a lot of credit. That was a heck of a fourth quarter. It was a heck of a basketball game. They made a couple more plays than we did down the stretch. It wasn’t for lack of effort on our guys’ part.”

The Hawks host the Pistons Wednesday.