Nuggets topple Thunder to snap slideMar 12, 2009 - 5:17 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- The trains were going in seemingly wrong directions. It was time for the Denver Nuggets to get back on track and derail the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Nuggets had lost three straight and eight of 11 coming into Wednesday but cleaned the Thunder's clock, 112-99. The loss ended Oklahoma City's two-game winning streak.
Denver was in control throughout, building a 91-72 lead in the fourth quarter before the Thunder crept within 101-92 on a jumper by Malik Rose that capped a 7-0 burst.
Chauncey Billups then drilled a shot from long range and Linas Kleiza was fouled on a breakaway by Rose and hit both fouls shots to boost the lead to 106-92 with 2:30 left and Denver had its victory sealed.
"It was a good win because we controlled most of the game but we still need to get more confidence," Denver coach George Karl said. "(Kleiza) busting out was good and (Renaldo) Balkman was fantastic. We took advantage of probably a tired team and won a game that we had to win. We have a few more of them coming up. The standings will look a lot better tomorrow morning."
The Jazz lead both the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets by one-half game in the Northwest Division.
Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 22 points. Billups added 17 points and nine assists for the Nuggets, who had 33 dishes to Oklahoma City's 13. Balkman had 14 points and 14 rebounds as Denver placed seven players in double figures.
"Tonight showed that when we do pass the ball and play together that it's kind of hard to beat us," Anthony said. "It's always good when you can get more than one person in double figures. That just means that everybody is doing their job."
Jeff Green paced the Thunder, who were without Kevin Durant again, with 19 points.
"We didn't do a good job on the weak side defensively," Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks said. "We didn't help our bigs. (Denver) came out and executed on the offensive end, and we had no answer for their inside attack.
"We were missing shots and the ball wasn't moving as well as we have in the last four or five games. We must get back to what we were doing."
Denver surged to a 31-19 lead after one quarter and broke it open to 42-23 in the second quarter.
The young Thunder would not go away and went on a 21-7 run to close within 49-44 before the Nuggets got a pair of hoops from Anthony, the second on a rim-rocking, alley-oop off a feed from Anthony Carter.
The Nuggets used a mini-run of 9-2 in the third quarter to open the gap to 64-50 as Anthony and Billups led the way.
Anthony kept up the onslaught and the Nuggets built the advantage to 76-59 with 4:26 left on a layup by Chris Andersen.
Oklahoma City refused to cave completely, using an 11-4 tear to get within 80-70 before Billups sank a 3-point shot to make it a 13-point game after three quarters.
OKLAHOMA CITY 96
DENVER 112 FINAL
Mar 11 11:26 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 70
DENVER 83 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 11 10:55 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 44
DENVER 53 HALFTIME
Mar 11 10:07 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 19
DENVER 31 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 11 9:37 PM
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