It was the biggest collection of points the Thunder had accumulated all season, and yet somehow it wasn’t enough: Carmelo Anthony sank a trey in the last fraction of a second to win it for the Nuggets, 122-120, in front of a stunned Ford Center crowd.
It should have been easier for Denver, the Northwest leader. They had all the pieces: a healthy Nene, who rang up 27 points while missing only one field goal all night; Chauncey Billups was seriously hot in the second half and finished with 24, including four treys; and ‘Melo, who had 31, never misses in the clutch.
But this one was in doubt right up until that last shot by Anthony. The Thunder generated tons of offense, with six players in double figures and Kevin Durant, who’d gotten a trey with 2.7 seconds left, had 33 points and nine rebounds. OKC shot an unheard-of (for OKC) 58.4 percent and sank 22 of 26 free throws. Robert Swift made it through 23 minutes: he scored only three, but he blocked three shots. And the Forgotten Men, Earl Watson and Damien Wilkins, combined for 31 points.
It would have been nice, but it wasn’t meant to be. I suspect the Thunder will take out their frustrations on the Knicks, who arrive Tuesday.