Westbrook Drops 38 But OKC Comes Up Short In Denver

Saturday, March 2nd 2013, 1:51 am
By: News 9

February might have been the best month of Russell Westbrook's career but his first game in March was something to behold.

The Thunder's dynamic point guard exploded for a season-high 38 points at Denver on Friday night but it wasn't enough to lift OKC over a tough Nuggets team on the road. Denver's Ty Lawson got the last laugh when he drilled a game winner with 0.2 seconds remaining to give the Nuggets to a hard-fought 105-103 victory over the Thunder at the Pepsi Center.

Oklahoma City raced out to an early 17-8 and looked poised to blow the home team right out of the arena but when Denver's reserves came in, things got interesting.

The Nuggets bench was incredible. The second unit scored 71 points against OKC compared to just 11 for the Thunder's.

The Denver reserves were paced by a season-high 35 points from Wilson Chandler, who hit 13-of-19 from the field, including a ridiculous 6-of-7 from 3-point range. Corey Brewer and Andre Miller each scored 14 off the bench, as well.

It helped the Nuggets overcome a rather uninspired offensive outing from the starting unit, which accounted for just 34 points on 15-of-45 shooting.

The bench's charge and a formidable small-ball lineup with Wilson at the power forward spot helped Denver lead by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter before Westbrook and Co. stormed back to make things interesting.

Thanks largely to Westbrook's tenacity, OKC outscored Denver 24-11 to take a 99-96 lead with two minutes remaining but the Thunder couldn't come up with the plays down the stretch, eventually allowing the Nuggets to reclaim the lead 103-101 on a Chandler layup with 22 seconds left.

Instead of holding it for the final shot and a chance to win or tie, Kevin Durant took Danilo Gallinari off the dribble for a contested layup to tie the game with 17 seconds remaining.

The decision put the outcome in Denver's hands and Lawson took advantage as the Nuggets improved to 25-3 at home this season, made all the more impressive considering their 38-22 overall record. It was also Denver's 10th-straight home win.

Not only was Westbrook's offense on point with a season high in points and five assists, his defense was also tremendous as he ended Lawson's streak of eight consecutive games with 20 or more points. Lawson didn't reach double figures until the game winning shot and finished just 5-of-14 from the floor.

Durant struggled some for OKC but still managed to score 25 points on 9-of-20 shooting and also hauled in 14 rebounds and added three blocks.

Serge Ibaka was the only other Thunder player to reach double digits with 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks on the night.

Thabo Sefolosha was all over the place on Friday. He didn't put up double-digit points but his line from top-to-bottom was phenomenal. Thabo hauled in 12 rebounds to go with eight points, five assists, three blocks and two steals.

The loss drops Oklahoma City to 42-16 on the season and 16-12 on the road. The Thunder has a chance to rebound on the road on Sunday with a tough game against the Clippers in the Staples Center at 2:30 p.m.