Thunder Move on to Second Round with Victory

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:22 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Apr 27, 2011 11:32 PM CDT

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Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Thunder are heading to the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

Despite being outplayed for much of the game, Oklahoma City rallied and came away with a 100-97 win at home on Wednesday.

Denver led 91-82 with 3:30 remaining in the game, but Kevin Durant took over, scoring 12 points in just more than two minutes.

Two free throws from Durant gave OKC a 98-97 lead, and Serge Ibaka picked up his ninth block of the game, preventing a dunk from Nene.

Durant came through again, pulling up and draining a jumper with 12 seconds remaining to give OKC a 100-97 lead.

A 3-pointer from Arron Afflalo rimmed out, sealing a 3-2 series win for Oklahoma City.

OKC struggled from the opening tip, going down by as many as nine points in the first quarter.

A buzzer beater from Eric Maynor to end the quarter gave OKC some momentum and four straight points from James Harden to open the second gave the Thunder a 29-28 lead.

The teams entered halftime tied 50-50.

The Nuggets began their run at the end of the third, outscoring Oklahoma City 12-5 at the end of the quarter to take a two-possession lead, but OKC chose to get hot from the field at the right time.

The Thunder outscored Denver 18-6 over the final 3:30 of the game.

The shooting percentages told the story of the Thunder’s struggles early in the game. Despite the win, the Nuggets outshot OKC 46 percent to 36 percent.

Denver also shot 44 percent from 3-point range to the Thunder’s 25.

Durant had 41 points, matching his impressive total from Game 1. 14 of those came in the game's final 3:30.

Ibaka was one of the biggest keys for Oklahoma City in the game, scoring just one point but picking up eight rebounds and nine blocks, including several crucial defensive plays down the stretch.

Russell Westbrook shot 15 times (half his total from Game 4) and scored 14 points.

OKC also outrebounded Denver 51-38.

The Thunder will take on the winner of the San Antonio – Memphis series, which is currently heading into Game 6, in the next round. The Grizzlies lead the series 3-2.