Thunder 114, Nuggets 106
Nuggets from my notebook from Saturday’s win over Denver.
- Tip of the cap to Thunder coach Scott Brooks for such a classy move after this one. Brooks began his post-game press conference by acknowledging the recent tragedy in Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony’s life. “First of all, my thoughts go out to Carmelo and his family,” Brooks said. “It’s a tough position for them to be in.”
- I thought this would be the night we finally saw Kevin Durant get 50. While it might sound crazy, it’s hard to believe he’s been in the league 3 1/2 years and hasn’t gotten it. That’s not a long time. But for a scorer like him, it seems he would have achieved that milestone by now. I’m going to go out on a limb (don’t know how far I’ll be out there though) and say he’s going to get it this season.
- Durant had a brilliant stretch in the post late in the first half. And it showed that his work in the post is paying off. With 4:53 left in the second quarter, Durant posted up J.R. Smith from left baseline. Rather than try to overpower the smaller but more likely stronger Smith, Durant bumped him once, spun the other way and fired. His jumper splashed straight through the net. Durant then hit Arron Afflalo with the same move on the Thunder’s next possession. Seconds later, the Thunder went back to the same play and the Nuggets sent a second and third defender. And when they did, Durant hit Russell Westbrook with a beautiful dime that would have ended in two points but Westbrook botched the layup.
- Durant’s passing throughout the game was on point tonight. The way he handled Denver’s double and triple teams was extremely impressive. He could have been selfish and tried to force his way to 50. But Durant made it a point after the game to do the exact opposite. Said KD: “I just didn’t want to force anything and mess the flow of the game up…The only thing I was thinking when I got the ball was hockey assists.”
- James Harden was huge tonight, too. When the Thunder went down by 10 early, Harden came off the bench and scored 14 of his 21 points in the second quarter. It helped pull the Thunder within two at the half. Brooks noted how much better Harden has been in December. “James has been good,” Brooks said. “He struggled in the first month. That’s well-documented. But in December, he’s playing the way we need him to play. He comes in and gives us some aggressive minutes on both ends of the floor.”
- Westbrook didn’t have the greatest game tonight. He finished with 19 points on 19 shots, many of them forced. But zero turnovers for Westbrook is always nice to see.
- The Thunder had just nine turnovers and dished out 22 assists. That’s a very nice ratio.
- Chris “Birdman” Andersen checked in late in the first quarter, and I seriously couldn’t stop staring at him. Dude’s neck tattoo is mesmerizing.
- Serge Ibaka was on the Cole Aldrich foul plan tonight. At one point, Ibaka had three fouls in three minutes. But Ibaka bounced back and had five rebounds and three blocks in the fourth quarter to help thwart the Nuggets’ rally. Said Brooks: “It didn’t affect his second half performance. He came out and was a presence defensively.”
- Nenad Krstic returned from a seven-game absence and had four points, eight rebounds and two assists.
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients
Send me a copy of this email.