Durant helps Thunder continue dominance over NuggetsMar 16, 2012 - 5:45 AM
The Oklahoma City Thunder beat Denver for the fourth straight time Thursday night, rolling to a 103-90 victory a little less than a month removed from their historic previous win over the Nuggets.
Durant scored 24 points, Westbrook had 23 and James Harden added 18 off the bench against a Denver team playing after it learned one of its most veteran players had been traded.
Nene, the 6-foot-11 Brazilian big man who played his first 10 seasons with the Nuggets, was dealt to the Washington Wizards earlier Thursday in a three-team trade that also involved the Los Angeles Clippers.
Andre Miller led Denver with 17 points off the bench and Danilo Gallinari had 15, but the Nuggets fell to 3-3 on a nine-game homestand.
Afterward, Gallinari said the trade wasn't a distraction for him and his teammates, admitting that the Western Conference-leading Thunder are just better.
"We get paid a lot of money to focus on the game," said Gallinari.
In return for Nene, who had missed a lot of time this season with injuries, the Nuggets received big men JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf from the Wizards.
"Nene has been an important part of our franchise over the past 10 years," said Nuggets executive VP of basketball operations Masai Ujiri in a statement, "and we want to thank him for everything he has done in his time here. We wish him and his family all the best in the future."
On Feb. 19, Durant scored 51 points, Westbrook added 40 and Ibaka posted a triple-double in a 124-118 overtime victory against Denver that made the Thunder the first team in NBA history to have a 50-point scorer, a 40-point scorer and a triple-double in the same game.
On Thursday, the Thunder led by as many as eight points in the first quarter and 14 in the second, but the Nuggets rallied for a 51-50 lead at halftime.
"We played pretty good for two quarters," said Gallinari. "(But) they were better than us in the second half."
Indeed, Oklahoma City held the Nuggets to 21.1 percent shooting in the third quarter and outscored them, 28-14, to carry a 78-65 lead into the fourth. The Thunder went up by as many as 20 after that, cruising to the win.
"We had a stretch of the game in the first half where we turned the ball over and gave them a chance to come back and take the lead," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "In the second half, we did a much better job."
The Nuggets plan to waive Turiaf and are close to signing Wilson Chandler, said Ujiri...The Thunder were coming off a 3-2 homestand and are headed back home for two games vs. San Antonio on Friday and Portland on Sunday...Denver's homestand continues Saturday vs. Boston.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 103
Mar 15 11:25 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 78
End of 3rd
Mar 15 10:55 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 50
Mar 15 10:11 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 29
End of 1st
Mar 15 9:35 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 15 9:12 PM
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