Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook continue to add to their “Dynamic Duo” resume.
In the Thunder's 121-118 overtime loss at Denver on Sunday night, they became just the third team tandem in the last 40 seasons to combine for at least 35 made free throws (35 for 38) in the same game. Durant finished 20 for 21 and Westbrook was 15 for 17.
Durant and Westbrook own the highest percentage (. 921) of any pairing. Utah's John Stockton and Karl Malone combined to make 35 free throws and Kevin Johnson and Tom Chambers combined to make 40, both during the 1989-90 season.
In the last four games, Durant (37.5 ppg) and Westbrook (33.8 ppg) have combined to average 71.3 points per game, which is 62.4 percent of the Thunder's average total (114.3).
Westbrook has four straight games of 30-plus points for the first time in his career.
For his latest efforts, Durant was named Western Conference player of the week for the fifth time this season. This comes in addition to being selected player of the month for October/November.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Despite 82 free-throw attempts, 61 fouls and the Nuggets and Thunder combining for 48 turnovers (24 each), Denver coach George Karl said Sunday night's game at the Pepsi Center was appealing.
“It was the best basketball game I have seen this year,” Karl said. “It was two teams going at each other. Both of them were pretty good tonight. I think we have overcome some situations and circumstances that are difficult. When you give up 50 free throws to win, it means you are doing a lot of good stuff.”
Westbrook drew heavy boos after he playfully intercepted two midcourt shots from Nuggets mascot, Rocky, late in the fourth quarter.
After snaring a second shot directly in front of the rim, Westbrook flicked a two-hand chest pass into the stands.
“I saw him block the shot and then he threw the ball into the crowd,” Karl said. “I know in the rule book it says you're not allowed to throw the ball into the crowd.”
When told it wasn't the actual game ball, Karl said: “Well that's a good question — he did throw a (game) ball into the crowd. Maybe I can call the league office on that tomorrow, along with 20 other things.”
Asked about the incident Tuesday, an NBA official said the league had yet to comment on the matter.
In OKC's 117-97 victory over Denver at Chesapeake Energy Arena last Wednesday, forward Kenneth Faried had five points and two rebounds.
In Sunday's rematch, Faried had 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
Was Wednesday still fresh in Faried's mind? “It's fresh in mine,” Faried said. “I had two rebounds. That's not me at all. They hit me and I didn't step up to the challenge personally. I was in foul trouble early so I was really disappointed in myself.”
Nuggets reserve forward Corey Brewer burned the Thunder for 26 points, which included going 3 for 6 from 3-pointers. His career high is 27 points.
“Corey shot the skin off of the ball,” Faried said. “I was saying earlier we need a new ball because of the way he was shooting tonight. I seemed to keep finding him. I was happy that he was shooting so well. He really came to play tonight.”
The Thunder is 20-4 against Western Conference, 13-6 on the road and 5-2 in the Northwest Division. … OKC is 7-1 in games after a loss this season and 42-10 after a loss in the past three seasons. … The Clippers lead the all-time series against the Thunder, 9-7. … Rookie guard Jeremy Lamb and center Daniel Orton, who were on the first two legs of OKC's six-game road trip, were assigned Monday to the Tulsa 66ers. Both players are expected to be in uniform Tuesday when the 66ers play the Iowa Energy at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
BY JOHN ROHDE