When radio guy Matt Pinto starts grumbling about “histrionics,” you know it’s been a rough night. Not that the Pepsi Center is particularly friendly to visiting teams anyway, but there were a couple of instances when you had to wonder if the Nuggets have been taking acting lessons during their none-too-copious free time. (Even George Karl overplayed his hand, and was T’d up for it.) The Thunder trailed most of the second half, then pulled to within one after a 10-0 run. Danilo Gallinari drew a foul from Kendrick Perkins and sank both free throws; Russell Westbrook, in the waning moments of the shot clock, splashed a 27-footer over Wilson Chandler’s hair to tie it up at 109 with 22.9 seconds left, and a Ty Lawson isolation came up empty.
It went back and forth during overtime, though three called offensive fouls (moving screens) for the Thunder proved to be their undoing. Two Andre Miller freebies put the Nuggets up 119-116 at 5.4; half a second later Kevin Durant knocked down two free throws to pull within one; Chandler matched that to make it 121-118, and when a Durant trey fell short, that was the final.
If Denver had a secret weapon tonight, it was bench strength: the five Nugget reserves came up with 57 points, 26 by Corey Brewer. (OKC had 18, all of them by Kevin Martin.) As usual with the Nuggets, the shooting from the floor was good (48 percent), from the stripe not so good (23-34 for 68 percent). But they dominated the boards (50-39) and kept the Thunder out of the paint as much as they possibly good.
Durant-Westbrook Overdrive ground it out, as they will do, splitting 73 points between them. There wasn’t a double-double to be seen, though. (Denver had two, by Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos, though Koufos fouled out in 20 minutes.)
But enough. Our condolences to Scott Brooks, who lost his mom this weekend. Will he miss the Clippers game on Tuesday or the Warriors game on Wednesday? I wouldn’t bet on it.