James Harden responds with 18 points as Thunder decks Nuggets in Game 2
As breathtaking as the exploits of the Thunder's All-Star tandem were in Game 1, their spectacular scoring left a lingering feeling that a disaster had been avoided.
Videoview all videos
Apr 21Two games into their first playoff series the Thunder is...
Apr 21Riding high with a 2-0 series lead, Scott Brooks and his...
Apr 21Kevin Durant scored a game-high 23 points and OKC led...
Apr 21Darnell Mayberry and Berry Tramel explain how OKC was...
Photoview all 52 photos
NewsOK Related Articles
The Thunder escaped with a four-point win in the opening game of this series Sunday night, and everyone from Thunder coach Scott Brooks to the ball boys knew Oklahoma City could not possibly continue to receive such a dominant offensive attack from just two players. With that realization, it seemed an entire fan base turned its collective focus to one man.
The second-year shooting guard needed to contribute a scoring spark, and he did just that Wednesday night, pouring in 14 of his 18 points off the bench in the first half as the Thunder cruised to a wire-to-wire 106-89 Game 2 win over Denver.
And those bubbly vibes you're feeling from this victory don't just stem from the Thunder securing a 17-point blowout to take a 2-0 lead in the series as it now shifts to Denver for Games 3 and 4. Deep down, everyone, including Denver, now knows the Thunder is too much for the Nuggets to handle when its entire roster comes to play.
Unlike Game 1, when the Thunder had only three players in double-digit scoring, led by a combined 72-point effort from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City had a much more balanced attack in Game 2. Harden was one of five players in double figures, led by Durant's game-high 23 points. Westbrook scored 21, Serge Ibaka had 12 points and Nick Collison chipped in 10 points off the bench.
“It's probably our best game of the year in terms of moving the ball to different guys and guys making plays,” said Collison.
No contributor was more important than Harden.
While Durant and Westbrook combined to shoot 25 of 45 from the field Sunday, Harden went 1-for-5. He missed all four of his 3-point tries and got to the free throw line just four times. Harden had only five points in 26 minutes.
But while everyone inside Oklahoma City Arena seemingly wanted Harden benched for his poor performance, Brooks stuck with him because he saw a shooter who was having hard luck. All four of Harden's 3s, Brooks said, rolled around without dropping down.
“If two had gone in, he'd have 11 points and we'd have said he had a pretty good game,” Brooks said.
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
- 10457Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 9286Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 5848Downtown wish list includes Super Target
- 4983Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 4420Oklahoma City pastor will face trial in fatal shooting of son-in law
- 4301Oklahoma tornadoes: Price family recovering after some heavy blows
- 4216How to help tornado victims