On Sunday night, Denver hit its first seven shots from the field and jumped out to a 13-point lead.
On Wednesday night, the Nuggets missed their first six shots and 15 of their first 18 as the Thunder jumped in front 29-10.
Denver's first field goal came on a goaltending call against Serge Ibaka on a clean block against Ty Lawson.
So far in the series, officiating crews have struggled making the proper goaltending call.
After scoring 41 points and shooting 13 for 22 from the floor in Game 1, Kevin Durant opened Game 2 shooting 1 for 5. Denver defenders, particularly Danilo Gallinari, appeared to be more physical guarding Durant.
“He's seen every defense,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Durant. “It's not like Denver is going to come up with a scheme we haven't seen before, unless it's, um, I don't even know. George (Karl) is pretty clever. I don't know if he has something we haven't seen before. Kevin has seen all the doubles — from the smalls, from the bigs, from the baseline, from the top. You just have to make plays. There's a reason why they're double-teaming, because you're good. They're a reason why we can score off a double-team, because they're leaving a guy open.”
New York forward Carmelo Anthony almost single-handedly won Tuesday night's game against Boston with 42 points, 17 rebounds and six assists.
Had Anthony not been traded to the Knicks on Feb. 22 and the Nuggets still finished as the No. 5 seed, he would be facing the Thunder right now.
Brooks knows Anthony well, having served as a Denver assistant for Anthony's first three seasons in the league.
“That was a terrific performance,” Brooks said of Anthony's effort on Tuesday. “That's what he does. He's a big-game player. He makes big plays. He can score in a lot of different areas. He's a good a scorer as Kevin Durant is, and there's not a lot of guys in the world you can say that about.”
PBWA HONORS DURANT
Durant was honored by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, winning the Magic Johnson Award as the player who combines on-court performance with steady co-operation with the media.
Durant beat out finalists Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76ers and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.
“Kevin's a uniquely skilled individual on the court and his willingness to accept the media responsibilities that go with his place in the game are valued by writers who cover the league,” said PBWA president Doug Smith of the Toronto Star.
VADEN JOINS THUNDER
Swingman Robert Vaden was called up from the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Developmental League and joined the Thunder for Wednesday's shoot-around in preparation for Game 2. It's extremely doubtful Vaden will be activated for a postseason game.
Vaden helped the 66ers to the D-League semifinals and averaged 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 32.3 minutes in four postseason games. During the regular season, he averaged 10.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 28.0 minutes in 45 games (17 starts).
“He had a great year in Tulsa,” Brooks said. “I used him (Wednesday) to guard Kevin in a drill. He gives us another body in practice that we need.”
Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison is 5 for 6 from the field in the series. He hit his first four shots before missing an off-balance layup attempt. … The Nuggets narrowed a 26-point deficit to 12 in the second quarter with Kenyon Martin on the bench. Martin didn't score his first points until the 6:38 mark of the third quarter. … Until Martin missed a free throw late in the third quarter, Denver was 17 for 21 from the free-throw line with all four misses coming from Nene (6 for 10). The Nuggets, who shot 63.6 percent from the line in Game 1, finished at 75.7 percent in Game 2. … Nuggets reserve guard J.R. Smith left the game midway through the second quarter and iced down his left shoulder. He did not return. … Thunder center Kendrick Perkins fouled out with 3:38 left and received a standing ovation for 11 rebounds and seven points.