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Thunder Pulls Away in Second Half for Win over Nuggets

Thunder-Nuggets (AP Photo) Thunder-Nuggets (AP Photo)

Originally Published: Jan 29, 2010 9:51 PM CDT

Vitals | Recap

Corey DeMoss
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder used a 30-point performance by Kevin Durant and a dominant third quarter to earn a 101-84 victory over the Denver Nuggets Friday.

The game remained close throughout the first half, with neither team building a lead of more than six points. But the Thunder (25-21) outscored Denver 28-15 in the third quarter take command of the game, and the Nuggets could not recover.

Durant carried OKC at the beginning of the game, scoring 15 points in the first quarter to give the Thunder a slim 27-26 lead. From that point forward, the Denver (31-15) offense gradually crumbled.

The Nuggets, who were playing without star Carmelo Anthony, started regularly committing turnovers in the second quarter and could not consistently pull down rebounds. OKC went into halftime with a 51-45 lead thanks in large part to 11 Denver turnovers and a rebounding advantage of 21-13.

J.R. Green was the only player able to keep the Nuggets in the game. Coming off the bench, Green made four 3-pointers in the first half and scored 15 points. He was one of five players to score for Denver, while all nine of the Thunder players who saw action scored in the first half.

Denver’s offense did not improve as the second half began. The Nuggets continued to commit costly turnovers, and the Thunder took advantage of them and built a double-digit lead. After building its big lead, Oklahoma City did not allow Denver to get close again.

Durant’s 30 points led all scorers, while Jeff Green scored 15, and James Harden and Nick Collison each added double-digit points off the bench. Thanks to Denver’s turnover problems and lack of rebounds, OKC took a total of 15 more shots than the Nuggets.

Chauncey Billups finished with a team-high 19 points for Denver, and J.R. Green finished with 18 points off the bench. The production of both players went down in the second half.

Denver’s loss ends an eight-game winning streak, while the Thunder snapped a three-game losing streak. OKC will try to keep its success going at 7 p.m. Sunday when it hosts Golden State.

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