It's rarer when a teammate scores 40-plus points in the same contest.
Until Sunday night, it was unprecedented that another teammate would have a triple-double on the very same night.
The Thunder's three-headed monster of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka made NBA history before another sellout crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant had a career-high 51 points, Westbrook scored 40 of his own and Ibaka had a triple-double of 15 rebounds, 14 points and 11 blocked shots.
Even more amazing is the Thunder needed every ounce of the history-making moment to post a 124-118 overtime victory over a depleted Denver squad that was using its 13th different starting lineup due to a slew of injuries.
"The game of basketball can really be mean to you," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Tonight, we did our job and did it very well. … To have a great player (Durant) take a game from you like that is heart-wrenching. It's just the bounce of the ball."
A quick checklist of Sunday's marks:
- Coincidentally, Denver was the last team to have one player score 50-plus and another score 40-plus in the same game with Kiki Vandeweghe (51) and Alex English (47) doing so in a 186-184 triple-overtime loss to Detroit that is the highest-scoring game in NBA history.
- The last time two teammates scored 40-plus in the same NBA game was Chicago's Michael Jordan (44) and Scottie Pippen (40) in 1996.
- Durant and Westbrook set an all-time franchise high with 91 combined points. The previous high was 90 by Seattle's Dale Ellis and Xavier McDaniel in 1989.
- Ibaka achieved the first triple-double with double-digit blocks in OKC/Seattle franchise history, which dates back to 1967. - Ibaka now has three games this season with 10-plus blocked shots.
- The last NBA player to have three or more games with double-digit blocks in the same season was Dallas center Shawn Bradley in the 1996-97 season.
- The last NBA player to have a triple-double with blocked shots was Washington's JaVale McGee on March 15, 2011.
- It marked the first time in Durant's career he had scored 50 points in a sanctioned game. He scored 60-plus twice last summer in pick-up games during the NBA lockout.
With 19.8 seconds left in overtime and with the Peake crowd chanting "FIF-TY, FIF-TY," Durant buried a free throw to reach half-a-hundred, pointed to the heavens and smiled as he accepted congratulations from his alleged rival Westbrook.
Durant then turned and pointed at Ibaka, who was standing at the opposite free-throw line. "That 50th point, it was all because of Serge and that (final) block," Durant said, once again deflecting praise to a teammate.
The crowd chanted "M-V-P, M-V-P" as Durant sank another free throw for his 51st point.
"He played like an MVP tonight," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Durant, the two-time scoring champ, who also had eight rebounds, four steals and three assists.
OKC's eight-game home winning streak nearly was halted by the streaking Nuggets, who frequently blew past lagging Thunder defenders all night long.
Denver outscored the Thunder 72-46 in the paint and somehow still lost. The Nuggets also outscored OKC in fast-break points (18-17) and second-chance points (25-22).
With 7 seconds left in regulation, Durant took an inbound pass on the left wing and barreled in unimpeded for a two-hand dunk with 4.4 seconds remaining to tie the score at 111. Lawson's pump-fake, lean-in 15-footer at the final buzzer was off the mark to the right and forced overtime.
Durant had 15 points in the fourth quarter alone to go along with 12 in the first, eight in the second and 10 in the third.
Westbrook had a 14-point third quarter to help the Thunder momentarily take control after trailing by as many 14 in the second quarter.
Durant shot 19 for 28 from the field, 5 for 6 from 3-point range and 8 for 10 from the free-throw line, Westbrook went 16 for 29 from the field, 3 for 6 from 3-point range, 5 for 5 from the line and handed out nine assists, one shy of a double-double.
Ibaka was 6 for 7 from the field and the rest of the Thunder roster combined to shoot 5 for 30.
OKC guard James Harden misfired with 2 for 12 shooting from the field and was still ecstatic at what transpired.
"Unbelievable," Harden said. "It was probably the best regular-season game I have played in since I've been here. Kevin had 50, Russell had 40 and Serge a triple-double. What else can you say? It doesn't get any better than that."
Brooks sheepishly said during his opening remarks: "As you know, this is probably an understatement, that was a heck of a game."