Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 73 points, 15 rebounds, 17 assists. However, it wasn’t enough for the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. The Thunder fell to the Denver Nuggets 121-118 in overtime. It was the first loss in overtime for Oklahoma City. The Thunder shot just 33.3 percent from three-point range as they fell, to a still league leading 32-9. The loss ended the Thunder’s six game winning streak.
Oklahoma City trailed by as many as six in the opening quarter early on, as the Nuggets led 8-2 early in the quarter. Westbrook fought hard, and kept the Thunder in the game. Denver was able to keep the Thunder at arm’s length in most of the quarter. Oklahoma City trailed the entire quarter, but a deep two by Kevin Martin tied the game up at 25 after one quarter.
Despite Kevin Durant’s first half struggles, Oklahoma City did not allow the Nuggets more than a three point lead in the quarter. The Nuggets had numerous three point leads in the quarter, Oklahoma City struggled throughout the game and quarter to get over the hump and take the lead. It wasn’t until Durant hit a free throw with 1:10 left int he quarter, did the thunder grab their first lead of the game. The lead lasted a full 27 seconds before the Nuggets took it back.
The third quarter was much like the second and first quarter. Denver led the quarter from start to finish. Every time Oklahoma City tried to answer a Denver score, the Nuggets had a score. Denver led by as much as eight points in the quarter. Oklahoma City despite not finding a way to over come the Nuggets, battled back and made the game close, numerous times. Westbrook had a chance to tie the game after being fouled on a three, but he missed the second one, and Oklahoma City went into the fourth quarter trailing 81-79.
All the Energy was in the Nuggets favor as they built a lead that started 95-90. The Nuggets scored six straight points and found themselves leading 101-90 with 6:37 left in the game. The Thunder, mainly a lot of Westbrook, decided they wanted to play basketball. Westbrook had seven of the team’s final 19 points, including a dagger with 22.7 second left, giving the game a dead heat at 109 each. Thabo Sefolosha’s defense on Ty Lawson forced the game into overtime.
In overtime, Durant continued to struggle from the field, and he finally missed a free throw. Durant missed his first free throw in 40 attempts. Durant nailed the first of two free throws, giving Oklahoma City the 116-115 lead with 1:44 remaining in the overtime session. Kenneth Faried nailed a lay up with 46 seconds left, giving the Nuggets the one point advantage. Denver would not relinquish the lead after that. Denver fouled the Thunder, forcing them to hit free throws, and not allowing a game tying attempt. Durant had a shot though, with less than a second on the clock, but missed.
Keys to the Game
Defending the Paint: FFFF!!!!
Oklahoma City allowed 66 points in the paint. THAT’S TWO SIXES RIGHT BESIDE EACH OTHER. If you didn’t know, that’s a lot of points.You know, all you had to do was play a little defense and the Thunder might have not needed overtime. Oh well, fell in overtime.
Russell Westbrook: A+
Westbrook played one HELL of a game. Westbrook pushed almsot a triple-double across the board. 36 points, nine assists, eight rebounds. Westbrook had seven turnovers, and six of them were in the first half. So, I’m not going to hold those against him, this time. He really led Oklahoma City through the fire when Durant couldn’t find his shot. Which was basically all game.
Despite scoring more on turnovers than the Nuggets, the Thunder turned it over 24 times. That’s WAY too many. That’s almost double their team average for the season. You cannot go on the road and win ball games if you turn it over that much. The bench contributed seven turnovers on their own before not contributing points. Wasn’t fun, really.
- Kevin Durant got off to a slow start offensively tonight. He missed his first five shots and had three turnovers early. He only made one of his first seven shots, and had five first half turnovers
- Russell Westbrook was able to pick up Durant’s slack, scoring 10 of the first 18 Thunder points. Serge Ibaka helped as well, adding six points early. Westbrook ended the first half with 19, and Ibaka added nine.
- Kevin Martin had a gnarly buzzer beater to end the first quarter. He took the ball up the court, and we all knew what he was going to do, but he still nailed a three from the top of the key.
- The Nuggets were getting too many offensive rebounds tonight. They had 13 in the first half and 20 overall. They ended with an 11 rebound advantage overall, grabbing nine more on the offensive end.
- The Thunder was able to force a lot of turnovers early. The Nuggets had seven after the first frame, and 13 by the end of the first half. They ended the game with 23.
- Westbrook was getting to the basket with ease for most of the game. It’s good to see him not relying on his jump shot.
- There were quite a few traveling and carry calls tonight. It’s pretty rare to see so many of those calls in an NBA game.
- Westbrook had an ankle injury in the final minute of the second quarter. He came down on Ibaka’s foot during a rebound attempt. He immediately headed to the locker room. However, being the trooper that he is, he started the second half.
- The Thunder had 12 turnovers in the first half, and that’s way too many. The team shouldn’t be having more than 12 or 13 turnovers in a game. Durant and Westbrook had nine of those 12. The team had 23 by the end of the game.
- Durant had more luck offensively after the first half, but still didn’t quite seem himself.
- This was a sloppy game for both sides. There were a ton of silly fouls and turnovers. The two teams combined for 46 turnovers and 61 fouls.
- Kevin Martin was hitting his shots tonight. He shot 60 percent overall and hit four of six from three, dropping 18 points overall.
- Corey Brewer had a great night for the Nuggets tonight. He was hitting inside shots and three pointers. He finished with 26 points.
- The Nuggets started to pull away in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder weren’t quite done.
- The Thunder closed an 11-point gap quick towards the end of fourth quarter, looking to make it a game.
- Westbrook hit a beautiful contested three late in the game to tie it at 109. The shot would end up forcing overtime, as Ty Lawson missed a chance at a game winner as time expired.
- My favorite moment of the game was when Westbrook blocked the half court shot attempt by Denver’s mascot Rocky.
- This game reminded me a lot of the Thunder and Nuggets matchup last year when Durant dropped his then career high 51. That game featured a late Thunder comeback and overtime as well. However, the Thunder won that game.
- The Thunder had three illegal screen calls in overtime. Can’t say much about that, but they had a big impact.
- Durant got a good look to tie it at the end of the overtime period, but came up just a little bit short.
- Durant and Westbrook combined for 73 points tonight. They were also 35 for 38 from the free throw line.
- This was a tough game from start to finish, and the Thunder couldn’t come out on top.