Thunder Falls to Denver Late for Second Straight Loss


Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:09 pm
By: News On 6


Originally Published: Jan 19, 2011 10:37 PM CDT

Gerald Goodridge
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

DENVER, Colorado -- Oklahoma City held a lead in the opening moments of the fourth quarter Wednesday, but an offensive onslaught by the Denver Nuggets sunk the Thunder 112-107.

That marks Oklahoma City second consecutive loss and moves it into a tie for first in the Northwest Division with the Utah Jazz.

Trailing one to open the final 12 minutes, Denver dialed up the defensive intensity to put together a 9-3 run and take 94-84 advantage with nine minutes left to play.

After the timeout, Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored a quick three points – a free throw and a mid-range jumper – to two points. Westbrook finished as the Thunder’s leading scorer with 28 points and 10 assists.

But the Nuggets’ offense kept the pressure on.

Ty Lawson came off the bench and answered Westbrook’s three points with three of his own to push the lead back to five points.

Oklahoma City answered yet again, closing the lead to 97-96 on a Serge Ibaka put-back jam, but the Nuggets continued to answer.

Denver put together a 6-2 run, including back-to-back jumpers from Lawson, to eclipse the century mark and take a 103-98 lead with five minutes left to play.

The Thunder scored five straight – three from Westbrook and two from Nick Collison – to pull within one point yet again, nut the Nuggets’ offense proved to be too much.

A four-footer by Carmelo Anthony coupled with back-to-back jumpers from Chauncey Billups proved to be the dagger for Denver, taking a 110-103 lead with less than two minutes left in the contest.

Anthony led all scorers with 35 points – 21 coming in the second half – in addition to his seven rebounds and four assists. Kenyon Martin controlled the glass for Denver with 16 rebounds, while Billups added 16 and dished out six assists.

Despite scoring 22 points, Durant struggled from the floor, hitting just six of his 18 attempts. Ibaka was big coming off of the bench, scoring 16 points and grabbing nine boards in his 29 minutes of play.

Oklahoma City will try to put one in the win column at 7 p.m. Saturday on the road against the New York Knicks.