DENVER — Kevin Durant was asked at his team’s shootaround Thursday morning what the Thunder did so well in its last trip to Denver that resulted in an impressive 12-point road win.
Get back on defense and move the ball, Durant responded.
“But also,” he quickly added, “the best point guard in the league was playing that game, too.”
In case you’ve been under a rock the last two weeks, Durant was talking about Russell Westbrook, the fiery point guard who results are proving more and more makes this team go.
Without him, this one was all but over by halftime.
Denver thoroughly dominated the Thunder in the final three quarters Thursday night and dealt Oklahoma City its second straight disheartening loss, a 101-88 pummeling inside the Pepsi Center.
It was so bad that none of OKC’s starters played a single second of the fourth quarter, something that typically happens because the Thunder is on the right side of a blowout.
But on this night, the Thunder was done in — and early — by more deficient defense and another one-man show starring Mr. Durant.
Durant scored a game-high 30 points, the sixth time in the past eight games and the 19th time this season he’s notched at least 30, but he didn’t have nearly enough in the tank to keep up with the nuclear Nuggets.
Durant missed six of his final seven shots, and when he again got next to nothing offensively from his teammates, the Nuggets pounced, opening a 25-point lead before cruising to victory.