Berry Tramel: Numbers say this series belongs to Thunder

by Berry Tramel Published: April 20, 2011

“They do have a deep bench, but I like our bench, too,” said Mohammed. “We have guys that fit the pieces. We play really well together.”

Now that stuff about the stars? That was on target. Durant and Westbrook didn't combine for 72 points like they did in Game 1; they managed just 44 total on 14 of 33 shooting.

But when they were needed, Durant and Westbrook stood ready. Denver climbed back from a 26-point deficit to trail just 86-76 with 8:32 left in the game. Durant and Westbrook followed with 11 straight Thunder points, the final two on a Durant dunk off Cook's missed 3-pointer, giving OKC a 97-80 lead.

Give the Nuggets credit. They didn't quit. No surprise there. They didn't quit when Carmelo Anthony tried to submarine their season. They didn't quit when the Carmelo trade seemed to doom Denver to mediocrity. And they didn't quit when it was 43-17 Wednesday night and blue-bedecked Boomtown threatened to blow the arena's roof higher than that crane atop the Devon Tower.

Denver kept trying to make this a game. Cut the deficit to 12 late in the second quarter. To 13 early in the third. To 10 before Westbrook's and Durant's heroics.

“A three-ball would go in, or an offensive rebound would break our heart,” Karl said. “That's what happens when you try to come back from 25 down.”

Let's stop thinking Karl is reinventing the wheel with this idea of a 10-man team of virtual equal players. These Nuggets have scratched their way here because they've got a couple of good point guards, a couple of good big men and a lot of heart.

Denver has had an amazing season, but now the Nuggets are starting to run out of gas, as the first 16 minutes showed Wednesday night.

The series is over. Ninety-four percent sure.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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