You could tell things were going to be furious on the floor tonight: Kendrick Perkins pounded Wilson Chandler to the tune of a Flagrant-1, and George Karl got T’d up, all within the first few minutes. The Thunder were up 31-15 after the first quarter and ran the lead to as much as twenty-six in the second before the Nuggets started to mount a counterattack, and while Denver was fairly efficient at finding holes in the Thunder defense, the Thunder offense was maintaining a double-digit lead. With 2:10 left and OKC up by nineteen, Karl knew he was licked. Oklahoma City 106, Denver 89, and we’re off to climb the mountain for Game 3.
The plan for Game 1 — stand back and give the ball to Russell Westbrook and/or Kevin Durant — clearly wasn’t going to work a second time. This time around, the Thunder had five in double figures, Serge Ibaka landing the night’s only double-double (12 points, 12 boards), Durant and Westbrook combining for a modest 44 instead of 72, and Perk reeling in 11 boards before fouling out with four minutes left. And speaking of boards, Denver hardly got any; OKC outrebounded the Nuggets, 54-31. Robert Vaden, called up from the 66ers, didn’t see any playing time, but hey, he got to see a real NBA playoff game.
So did the Nuggets, and they were not liking it much. They executed where they could, Ty Lawson flashed to a quick twenty, and Nenê was, well, Nenê, but they left nine points at the stripe and shot only 39 percent. And unlike the case in the first game, neither J. R. Smith nor Chris Andersen was much of a factor: Raymond Felton and Al Harrington got almost all the bench points, and only Harrington got even a single rebound.
Still, there was anxiety before the game, especially when NewsOK stuck this on a story:
Migod, you’d almost think KD was dying or something.