The one thing you need to know about this game was the amount of garbage time: more than ten minutes. It was OKC 95, Denver 70 after three quarters, and the starters hung around just long enough for you to remember seeing them. The Nuggets reserves put together an 11-0 run, but they’d never make it back within a dozen. “It’s like a bad accident that I can’t turn away from,” said Darnell Mayberry. The final: 117-97.
You win some, you lose some: Serge Ibaka was back, but Nick Collison sprained his right ankle and did not return. Russell Westbrook put on a show, getting most of his 32 points (12-20 from the floor) before halftime; both Kevin and Kevin weighed in with 20. (Durant went 7-12, Martin 8-12.) Overall, the Thunder shot 52 percent, and made nine of 19 treys. The major excitement, other than statistical, was waiting to see if Hasheem Thabeet would foul out. Twice in the waning moments, it looked like he would, but both times someone else was tagged with the foul.
Denver normally shoots better than 45 percent, and 2-15 from beyond the arc can’t have made George Karl happy. Kosta Koufos was satisfyingly sturdy in the middle, posting 16 points and swiping nine boards, but it’s usually not a good night when Kosta Koufos is your leading scorer. (Between them, Andre Igoudala and Danilo Gallinari were 7-20.) With the Thunder taking the ball away at every opportunity — OKC had 11 blocks and 11 steals — it’s probably remarkable that Denver broke 90.
The Nuggets will have a chance to redeem themselves at their preferred altitude Sunday. The Thunder, presumably, will be coming off a win at Dallas — though you can’t be sure of anything with Dirk Nowitzki hanging around.