Normally, one does not simply walk into the Pepsi Center. The Thunder were up four after the first quarter, and then went on a 10-0 run — and then totally fell to pieces, as Denver dominated the rest of the half and went into the locker room up one. (“To pieces”? How often does Scott Brooks get T’d up?) Whatever Brooks said at halftime, though, it worked: OKC took the third quarter, 28-14, and held the Nuggets at bay for the last twelve minutes to walk away with a 103-90 win.
This game marked the return, albeit limited, of Thabo Sefolosha, who put in twelve minutes and sank a trey. (Interestingly, Daequan Cook, rotated back to the bench, had a pretty decent night: 11 points in 16 minutes, including three trademark treys.) The scoring stalwarts were up to snuff: Kevin Durant 24, Russell Westbrook 23, James Harden 18. And, significantly, no one played over 35 minutes, an important consideration with the Spurs due in tomorrow night.
Denver didn’t do a whole lot wrong, but they didn’t throw up a whole lot of defense either: they blocked only two shots all night. Come to think of it, they didn’t throw up a whole lot of offense either: they made four 3-pointers in the first half, and only one in the second, while seventeen fell harmlessly away from the cylinder. Andre Miller was the Nuggets’ top scorer, with 17 off the bench, and while rookie forward Kenneth Faried acquitted himself well (8 points, 9 rebounds), he’s a long way from being Nenê.
For the season, the Thunder are now 2-0 against Denver, with the rubber game to come at the literal end of the season (25 April, at the ‘Peake.) This weekend, though, there’s San Antonio to deal with, and the question of whether the Trail Blazers get a fired-coach bounce when they come to town Sunday.