The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

January 16, 2013

Westbrook, Thunder outrun Nuggets

OKLAHOMA CITY — OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook scored 32 points, Kevin Martin had 20 and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped Denver’s six-game winning streak by beating the Nuggets 117-97 on Wednesday night.

Kevin Durant added 20 points and tied his career high with five steals as NBA-best Oklahoma City led wire-to-wire for just the second time this season.

The Thunder opened a 16-point lead in the first quarter and remained in control throughout, pulling their starters for the fourth quarter with a 25-point edge. Denver mounted an 11-0 run against Oklahoma City’s last five but that still only cut the deficit to 101-84.

Kosta Koufos had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead the Nuggets, who fell to 3-6 this season in the second game of a back-to-back set.

Denver had won after trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime in its previous four games, but dug too big of a hole to mount a comeback this time.

Westbrook hit six of his first eight shots and had 16 points in the first 10 minutes, with the Thunder continuously pulling away. Oklahoma City scored the first seven points of the game and also had a pair of 8-0 spurts in the first quarter while getting out to a 34-18 lead.

It wasn’t until after Nick Collison’s two-handed dunk stretched the advantage to 45-23 in the first 3 minutes of the second quarter before Denver coach George Karl finally spent a timeout. The Nuggets never got closer than 17 after that.

JaVale McGee had a couple of highlight-reel dunks among 15 points for Denver. Andre Iguodala scored 12 and Danilo Gallinari 11. The Nuggets had 21 turnovers, one shy of their worst total of the season.

The Northwest Division rivals will play again Sunday in Denver.

Reserve Wilson Chandler, who hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the Nuggets’ overtime win against Portland on Tuesday night, did not play.

Serge Ibaka returned to the Oklahoma City lineup after missing the past two games with a chest contusion and had five points, six rebounds and five blocks in 26 minutes.

NOTES: Asked before the game who should be the Nuggets’ All-Star candidates, Karl said backup point guard Andre Miller has been the team’s MVP so far. ... Oklahoma City corralled an offensive rebound on nine of its first 16 missed shots. ... The Thunder scored 67 points in the first half. Their season-high for first-half scoring was 68 against Houston on Dec. 29.

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