The Denver Nuggets haven’t had a lot of recent success playing road games against the Thunder. In fact, entering Tuesday’s game, Denver had lost seven of its previous eight visits to Oklahoma City.
But when you’re hot, you’re hot.
Ty Lawson scored 25 points as the Nuggets ran their winning streak to 13 games, downing OKC 114-104 Tuesday night at Chesapeake Arena.
Oklahoma City got off to a strong start, using a 12-4 run to grab a 34-26 lead at the end of the first quarter. OKC kept up the scoring in the second, but Denver’s fast-paced attack awoke in a large way.
As the pace of play increased, so did the Nuggets’ offense. Lawson, JaVale McGee and Wilson Chandler each scored seven points in the second as Denver outscored the Thunder 39-32 and cut the halftime deficit to just one. OKC’s 66-65 halftime advantage was due largely in part to a three-man offensive show. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 18 points while Kevin Martin chipped in 12 on 3-3 shooting off the bench. Denver’s balanced effort was led by Lawson’s 15.
OKC (50-18) struggled from the field in the third quarter as one jump-shot after another clanked off the rim. The 6-17 shooting, including 0-5 from 3-point range played right into the Nuggets’ hands.
Denver (47-22), who leads the NBA in both fast-break points and points off turnovers, turned the Thunder’s missed shots into one fast-break bucket after another. The Nuggets outscored OKC 24-16 and took an 89-82 lead into the fourth.
Denver’s lead got as high as 11 on three different occasions in the fourth quarter, but as expected, the Thunder battled back. Trailing 102-93 with less than six minutes to play, OKC put together a quick 5-0 run to jump right back into it at 102-97.
But tonight, like every other night this month, belonged to Denver. Andre Miller scored eight points in the final two minutes as the Nuggets won their third consecutive game against the Thunder and clinched the season series over OKC, 3-1.
In addition to Lawson’s strong game, Miller scored 20, while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out nine assists off the Nuggets’ bench. Danillo Gallinari and Faried each added 13 for the Denver, who, with the win, move into a tie for third place in the Western Conference.
Durant’s 34 and Westbrook’s 25 paced the Thunder, but Martin scored just two points in the second half to finish with 14. Serge Ibaka had a rough night, scoring just six points and grabbing two rebounds in24 minutes.
The loss snaps OKC’s seven-game home winning streak.