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December 18, 2013

Thunder top Nuggets in Denver

DENVER — Kevin Durant scored 30 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Denver Nuggets 105-93 on Tuesday night for their seventh consecutive victory.

Durant had 30 or more points in a game for the 12th time this season, most in the NBA. He is averaging a league-high 28.6 points.

Russell Westbrook had 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Thunder. Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Denver had won 10 of 13. J.J. Hickson had 20 points and 14 rebounds, but the Nuggets dropped to 0-2 this season against Oklahoma City. Ty Lawson added 17 points and 13 assists.

After Hickson made one of two foul shots to get the Nuggets within two, the Thunder put together a 9-0 run capped by a 3-pointer by Durant for a 69-58 lead with 4:56 left in the third quarter.

Evan Fournier broke up the flurry with a 3-pointer but Oklahoma City still led 75-65 going into the fourth.

The Thunder stretched their lead to 13 points on a basket by Jeremy Lamb but Denver closed to 83-77 with 7:15 remaining, getting 10 straight points from Nate Robinson, including consecutive 3-pointers.

Denver’s rally stalled from there, and Durant hit a jumper and Westbrook and Lamb each connected on 3-pointers to help Oklahoma City to a comfortable 97-79 lead with 4:28 left.

The Nuggets didn’t threaten the rest of the way.

Durant heated up in the last couple of minutes of the second quarter, dunking on consecutive possessions off alley-oop passes and then hitting a 3-pointer to push Oklahoma City to a 52-44 halftime lead.

The Thunder led by as many as 12 points early on, going in front 37-25 when Reggie Jackson converted a steal into a fast-break layup midway through the second quarter.

Ibaka helped the Thunder get off to a solid start, scoring the team’s first 11 points.

Kenneth Faried scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half for Denver.

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