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Thunder take 2-0 lead behind Durant, Westbrook

Apr 21, 2011 - 6:47 AM Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook once again led the Thunder with 23 and 21 points, respectively, as Oklahoma City jumped out to a big lead and cruised to a 106-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

James Harden scored 14 of his 18 points in a first half controlled by the Thunder, who went up by as many as 26 points early in the second quarter and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Ty Lawson scored 20 points, while Nene and Raymond Felton both had 16 for the Nuggets, who shot just 39 percent from the field and head back to Denver for Saturday's Game 3 trailing the series, 2-0.

"All we've done really is just protect our home court," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "Now it's time to go back, watch the film, find ways that we can improve, find ways that we can get better next game. We know going into their court it's not going to be easy, but we're looking forward to the challenge."

A critical Kendrick Perkins tip-in late in Game 1 helped Oklahoma City take a 107-103 victory, though the NBA said Monday that officials should have called offensive goaltending on the play.

There was no controversial finish in Wednesday's wire-to-wire drubbing.

Durant and Westbrook, after combining for 72 points in the series opener, pumped up the Oklahoma City Arena crowd by each hitting three-pointers on the Thunder's first two possessions in Game 2.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, missed 12 of their first 15 shots from the field, a stretch that lasted all but the final 31.8 seconds of the opening frame.

By that time the Thunder had built a 29-10 lead, capped by Durant's steal and outlet pass to Harden for a dunk.

"[The Thunder] were totally in control, they were energized, they were more physical, they were quicker and probably smarter," Nuggets head coach George Karl said. "The hole was just too big."

The hosts held a 31-15 cushion at the end of the quarter and continued their dominance in the second, scoring 12 of the first 14 points -- seven coming from Harden -- to extend the margin to 26.

Denver went on seven- and nine-point spurts to get as close as 12, 50-38, on a Lawson pullup jumper with under four minutes left in the half, but the Northwest Division champions still owned a healthy 59-44 advantage at the break.

The NBA's top-scoring team played even with the Thunder in the third quarter, which ended 81-66, then pulled as close as 86-76 on a Felton bucket with 8:33 remaining in the fourth.

But the Nuggets proceeded with four straight empty possessions in the midst of Durant putting in a pair of baskets off offensive rebounds. Westbrook added two from the foul line for a 92-76 lead at the midway point, and countered two Nene free throws with a straightaway three-pointer that put the game away.

Game Notes

The Nuggets were still without guard Arron Afflalo, who continues to sit out due to a hamstring injury...The Nuggets averaged 107.5 points during the regular season...Al Harrington added 15 points for Denver, which got just two from J.R. Smith...Serge Ibaka finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Perkins totaled seven and 11 to spearhead the Thunder's 54-31 edge on the glass...Oklahoma City also had 24 second-chance points to Denver's 10.