Any Thunder/Nuggets game is likely to contain remarkable moments, but you don’t generally expect actual fisticuffs. Early in the fourth quarter, Denver’s Jordan Hamilton was sufficiently vexed with Steven Adams to throw a punch at him; Hamilton was tagged with a Flagrant Two and thumbed, and Adams promptly missed the first of two free throws. Then someone woke up Nate Robinson, who knocked down all ten points in a 10-3 Denver run. This, as you might expect, woke up the OKC offense, which ran the lead from six to 18 in two minutes flat. It wasn’t going to stay there, of course, but the Nuggets had whittled it down only to 12 by the time the horn sounded: Oklahoma City 105, Denver 93, and another 2-0 series lead.
The Nuggets did get five into double figures — four starters plus Robinson — led by J. J. Hickson, who came up with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Ty Lawson also double-doubled: 17 points, 13 assists. (Hamilton had four points and five boards before getting tossed.) Denver did leave six points at the foul line, but OKC did too, so that’s a wash.
The Thunder outshot Denver 48-41 and outrebounded them 53-43. The numbers went about the way you’d expect: Kevin Durant had another 30-point night on 11-23 shooting; Russell Westbrook, who came up big in the fourth quarter, had 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists; Serge Ibaka returned to form with a 17-point outing, during which gathered 10 boards. Jeremy Lamb headed the bench with nine.
It’s in and out of town for the rest of the year: against Chicago at home Thursday, to San Antonio on Saturday, back home against Toronto on Sunday, an afternoon match in New York on Christmas Day, followed by a trip to Charlotte, and then two home games: the Rockets and the Trail Blazers, the latter on New Year’s Eve. Seat belts should be fastened at all times.