Thunder Dominant In The Second Half To Top Denver
DENVER - The Denver Nuggets struggled on offense in the second half, allowing the Oklahoma City Thunder to build a big lead and cruise to a 103-90 win Thursday, their second win over Denver this season, securing a win in the season series over their division foe.
As the first half closed, it appeared as if the Nuggets had taken all of the momentum, closing the half on a 19-6 run to head into the locker room with a 51-50 advantage. However, Denver struggled opening the second half, making just two shots in the first nine minutes of the quarter, allowing Oklahoma City to open a big lead.
The Thunder had no trouble scoring, snapping of a 20-6 run over that span – including nine from star Kevin Durant – to hold a 70-57 advantage with 3:41 left in the quarter. Denver tried to respond with a quick 8-3 run, but the Thunder knocked down a pair of shots to close the quarter with a 78-65 lead.
The fourth quarter was just as kind to Oklahoma City, as the Thunder doubled-up on the Nuggets in the opening minutes of the quarter, taking a 90-72 lead just five minutes into the fourth quarter. Denver scored a quick five to cut into the lead, but a pair of jumpers from Durant put the Thunder up 15 points with three minutes left on the clock.
Oklahoma City avoided a big letdown, unlike what happened just two nights prior, and pulled all of its starters with a minute left in the game to avoid injuries.
Durant finished with a game-high 28 points and six rebounds, while Russell Westbrook was hot on his heels, scoring 23 points, grabbing six boards and dishing out five assists. James Harden continues to make his case for being the best sixth-man in the league, scoring 18 points, hitting four of his six attempts from behind the three-point line.
Andre Miller set the pace for Denver, who was short-handed after sending Nene to Washington for JaVale McGee, scoring 17 points while coming off the bench. Danillo Gallinari chipped in 15 points and three rebounds in the loss.
Oklahoma City will be unable to get much rest, flying home to Oklahoma City to take on the San Antonio Spurs at 8:30 p.m. Friday. This is the third and final matchup between The Thunder and San Antonio this season, with the season series split 1-1, with each team winning its home game.