Can the Denver Nuggets turn the series around after Thunder's Game 2 rout?

BY JOHN ROHDE Staff Writer jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 20, 2011

The score was 43-17 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter of Game 2 on Wednesday night.

The Oklahoma City Thunder was halfway to clinching this opening-round playoff series, while the Denver Nuggets were digging a hole halfway to China.

The Nuggets clawed their way back, but never got closer than 10 points and lost 106-89.

“The hole was just too big,” Denver coach George Karl admitted afterward.

A sellout crowd of 18,203 donned blue T-shirts inside Oklahoma City Arena and watched OKC take a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series that moves to the Pepsi Center in Denver for Game 3 on Saturday at 9 p.m.

Including the last two regular-season meetings, the Thunder has beaten the Nuggets four straight times in the last 16 days, and from the outset Wednesday night, there was little doubt.

“They were totally in control,” Karl said. “They were energized. They were more physical. They were quicker, probably smarter.”

The NBA's highest-scoring team this season, Denver had managed just 10 points with less than one minute left in the first quarter.

“They came out more aggressive than us, with more intensity than us. Just everything, more than us,” Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari said. “There is not a lot of things I can say.”

The Thunder shot just 43.9 percent from the field, but held Denver to 39.1-percent shooting.

“Our guys were missing shots they can make,” said reserve forward Al Harrington, who had 15 points and shot 6 for 9 from the field. “Sometimes you slip at the wrong time.”

OKC dominated the boards 54-31, including 17-5 on the offensive end. The Thunder outscored Denver 24-10 on second-chance points.

Young and energetic, OKC has become a confident group.

“I guess the best thing to fix that is winning, so I we have to find a way to win Game 3 back in Denver,” Harrington said.

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