Notebook: Thunder 117, Nuggets 97

Posted Jan 16, 2013 11:38 PM

By Randy Renner, for

THE FACTS: A shootout between two of the NBA's hottest and highest scoring teams never materialized as the Oklahoma City Thunder jumped on the Denver Nuggets early and never let up in rolling to a 117-97 blowout win.

The Thunder (31-8) led by as many as 28 and were powered by hot shooting nights from Russell Westbrook 32 points (12-for-20), Kevin Durant 20 (7-for-12) and Kevin Martin 16 (6-for-8).

Denver (24-17) was playing the second night of a back-to-back and looked like it. The Nuggets seemed a step or two slow from the opening tip. They were led by 16 points from Kosta Koufos on 6-for-6 shooting, he also grabbed nine rebounds. JaVale McGee came off the bench to add 15 points, Andre Iguodala dropped in 12 but was just 4-for-10 shooting. Danilo Gallinari had an even worse night (3-for-10) and scored 11 points.

Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was back in the starting lineup after missing two games with a bruised chest. Ibaka scored only five points but he also blocked five shots and grabbed five rebounds. Both coaches emptied their benches in the fourth quarter and no starters for either team played in the final 12 minutes.

The Thunder win snapped a six game Nuggets winning streak and OKC has now won six in a row and 10 of the last 12.

QUOTABLE: "We're greedy. We're just trying to play up to our level. We know though as easily as you can win five or six straight, you can lose five or six."
-- Kevin Durant

QUOTABLE II: "We came out with great energy at the start and set the tone with our defense, then that allows us to play better offense. I thought our ball pressure was really good. They didn't see a lot of openings and when they did Serge blocked a lot of shots."
-- Thunder coach Scott Brooks

THE STAT: Westbrook, Durant and Martin combined to score 72 points on 27-for-42 shooting (64.3 percent)...The Nuggets three leading scorers coming into the game Gallinari, Iguodala and Ty Lawson combined to score 25 points on 8-for-24 (33.3 percent).

TURNING POINT: The Thunder never trailed, getting off to an 11-2 start. OKC scored 34 points in the first quarter (Durant and Westbrook combing to score 24 of their team's first 26) and 33 in the second adding up to an avalanche of points the Nuggets couldn't dig out from under.

QUOTABLE III: "We didn't have a good offensive game and we didn't have a good defensive game. We didn't have a good energy game either. The Thunder seemed to be the hungrier team from the very beginning. We never got into our flow and our offense just wasn't there."
-- Nuggets coach George Karl

HOT: The Thunder started the game 6-for-9 (66.7 percent) and finished the first quarter with 34 points (second most in a first quarter this season) on 13-for-22 (59.1 percent)...Westbrook was 4-for-5 (10 points) in the first six and a half minutes and finished the quarter 6-for-8 (16 points). Westbrook was 9-for-15 (25 points) in the first half...Koufos was 5-for-5 (13 points) in the first half...Martin was 5-for-7 (14 points) and Durant 6-for-10 (16 points) in the first half. Koufos finished the game 6-for-6...McGee was 5-for-6 (15 points). OKC was 6-for-8 (15 points) on the fast break.

NOT: Denver began by shooting just 40 percent (4-for-10) and finished the quarter at 36.8 percent (7-for-19)...Gallinari and Corey Brewer were each 1-for-5 in the first half. Kendrick Perkins was 1-for-6 for the game.

INSIDE THE ARENA: Oklahoma City's 88th straight sellout crowd watched the game inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez watched the game from courtside seats.

GOOD MOVE: Durant said before the game the Nuggets reminded him of his own team so he said it was even more important than usual to come out focused and begin the game with a lot of intensity. OKC did just that, scoring 67 points (tied for most in a first half this season) on 54.3 percent shooting and took a 20 point lead into the locker room at the break.

BAD MOVE: Nuggets head coach George Karl said forcing Ibaka to shoot jumpers would be a focus for his team. Ibaka shot only one jumper in the first half and made it. He wasn't much of a factor on offense (five points) but the Nuggets had no answers for Westbrook, Durant or Martin.

NOTABLE: Thunder backup forward Nick Collison sprained his right ankle late in the first half and did not return to the game. For now he's being listed as day-to-day...Westbrook's 32 points in 28 minutes makes him just the third Sonics/Thunder player to finish with 30+ in 28 minutes or less in the last 25 years. Sedale Threatt and Xavier McDaniel are the other two.

UP NEXT: For the Nuggets, Friday vs. Washington, Sunday vs. Oklahoma City, Wednesday @ Houston. For the Thunder, Friday @ Dallas, Sunday @ Denver, Tuesday @ L.A. Clippers.