Notebook: Nuggets 121, Thunder 118, OT



Posted Jan 21, 2013 12:53 AM

By Michael Kelly, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Kenneth Faried's layup with 46 seconds left put Denver up for good and the Nuggets hit four free throws down the stretch to hold off the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-118 in overtime on Sunday night.

Corey Brewer scored 26 off the bench -- 15 in the fourth quarter -- and Danilo Gallinari had 18 for the Nuggets (25-18), who snapped a two-game skid.

Kevin Durant scored a game-high 37 points and Russell Westbrook added 36 but both missed potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final seconds of overtime. Oklahoma City (32-9) had won six straight.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks led his team despite the death of his mother, Lee Brooks, on Saturday night. His team almost pulled out a win after trailing by 11 late in the fourth quarter.

Westbrook sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer to tie it at 109 with 22.9 seconds left in regulation.

QUOTABLE: "It's the best basketball game I've seen this year. Both teams going after each other and both of them were pretty good tonight. We overcome some situations and circumstances that were difficult. When you give up 50 free throws and still win it means you're doing a lot of good stuff. It makes us feel like we can be a good basketball team."

-- Nuggets coach George Karl

THE STAT: Westbrook and Durant combined to make 35 of their 38 free throws for the Thunder. Oklahoma City was 40-for-48 from the line, overall.

TURNING POINT: Trailing by one in the final minute of overtime the Nuggets went to Faried. With the shorter Kevin Martin guarding him in the post Faried hit a layup to put Denver ahead 117-116. Durant missed a 3-pointer and the Nuggets held on with four free throws down the stretch.

QUOTABLE II: "I had all the confidence it was going in. Corey [Brewer] knew who I had on me and he gave me the ball and said 'Go to work.' They didn't double me and I knew I was going to score it."

-- Kenneth Faried, who finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

HOT: Brewer was on fire early in the fourth period. He hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first 4:18 of the period to help Denver grab a 101-90 lead.

QUOTABLE III: "They don't run many plays for him, he just figures out how to get open. He made 3s. Seemed like every time we made a minor mistake he was around the basketball."

-- Thunder coach Scott Brooks on Brewer's shooting.

NOT: Westbrook suffered a left leg injury in the final seconds of the second quarter when teammate Serge Ibaka landed on it. Although he played the entire second half, including overtime, he was limited off the dribble.

QUOTABLE IV: "I played through it because I was trying to win. This was a big game for us."

-- Russell Westbrook on playing with the injury.

NOT II: The Thunder bench, other than Martin. Martin had 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting. The rest of the reserves went 0-for-2 and didn't score a point. Denver's bench outscored the Thunder's 57-18.

INSIDE THE ARENA: Nuggets guard Julyan Stone gave a short speech honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in advance of the holiday honoring the late civil rights leader.

GOOD MOVE: Karl decided to go with Brewer and Andre Miller on Durant and Westbrook for most of the fourth quarter. While they made shots both had to work for them.

BAD MOVE: The third quarter was filled with technicals. First, Kendrick Perkins was called for a Flagrant 1 foul with 3:29 left when his left elbow and connected with Faried's head after Perkins grabbed a rebound. Two minutes later JaVale McGee was called for one after Martin hit a 3-pointer, giving the Thunder a four-point play. The last was on Karl for arguing a goaltending call.

NOTABLE: The win was the 1,099th of Karl's career. He is now sixth on the all-time NBA wins list, passing good friend Larry Brown. Up next is Phil Jackson at 1,146. ... Westbrook has scored 30 or more points in four straight games. ... Durant made his first 18 free throws to increase his total to 50 before a miss in the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT: For the Thunder, Tuesday @ L.A. Clippers, Wednesday @ Golden State, Friday @ Sacramento. For the Nuggets, Wednesday @ Houston, Saturday vs. Sacramento, Monday, Jan. 28, vs. Indiana.