Even a team strongly identified with defense, as the Thunder is, has to score now and then. When they don’t, well, it’s not pretty, and by “not pretty” I mean a thousand million times worse than horrible plug-ugly. In the first 14 minutes of the second half, OKC scored 15 points. Let me repeat that: fifteen points in fourteen minutes. At the time, Denver was up 25, without the services of either Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler. None of the Thunder starters reported for fourth-quarter duty, Scott Brooks having decided that the bench needed the practice. Brian Shaw made no such decision for the Nuggets. In some weird form of Basketball Karma, Denver managed only seven points in the first ten minutes of the fourth quarter, but it was too late to make any difference; the Nuggets eased out of the building with a 101-88 win.
You want a Telltale Statistic? Try this one on for size: Ty Lawson had fourteen assists. Eleven Thunder players combined managed only eleven. Lawson also scored 16 points. Randy Foye hit six of nine treys on the way to 24 points. (The Thunder in aggregate made six of 24.) Evan Fournier headed the Denver bench with 19.
It was another case of Kevin Durant Can’t Do Everything, Guys. He knocked out 30 points in 28 minutes; Reggie Jackson, still trying to be something more than Westbrook Lite, gathered 13, and Derek Fisher tossed up four treys in eight tries for 12. (Which means that Thunder players not named Derek Fisher were 2-16 from beyond the arc.) Serge Ibaka was back, collecting his usual ten rebounds and three blocks, but he went 3-11 from the floor, and he was hardly the worst. (That would be Jeremy Lamb, who went 1-12.)
It’s tempting to say “Oh, well, at least we can beat up on the Bucks Saturday night.” At the moment, I’m thinking Milwaukee is about due for a win.