OKLAHOMA CITY —
Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson missed a 3-point attempt and Miller made the Thunder pay with another jumper in the paint. Denver led by 10 with 1:29 left and coasted to victory.
Durant led all scorers with 34 points on 10-of-23 shooting. He also had seven rebounds, five assists and six turnovers. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook added 25 points and six assists but scored only seven points in the second half. Kevin Martin came off the Oklahoma City bench to post 14 points.
The Nuggets had six players score in double figures. Miller posted 20 points and handed out nine assists off the bench. Danilo Gallinari and Faried each scored 13.
“We fought,” Durant said. “It’s easy to fall into that trap of playing their game. That’s what they do. They get up and down the court. Our game is a little different. We want to run off our defense. Those guys run off makes, misses and turnovers. We fell into the trap. We couldn’t play that game with them.”
Karl anticipated the Thunder would come out of the gates attacking. He was right. Oklahoma City shot nearly 60 percent from the field while taking a 34-26 advantage after the first quarter.
The Thunder pushed the lead to 10 points before Denver stormed back behind the play of its bench as it outscored Oklahoma City’s reserves 28-16 in the half. Denver trailed 66-65 at halftime.
The Nuggets began the third quarter on a 15-4 run. They got their transition offense rolling, and Oklahoma City’s defense couldn’t keep up.
Denver took control of the game when it started to control the backboards. After trailing Oklahoma City 14-6 in rebounding, it outrebounded the Thunder 46-31 the rest of the way. Serge Ibaka ended the night with only two rebounds. He didn’t get his first rebound until midway through the third period.
“It’s very obvious that when we outrebound teams, we usally win,” Brooks said. “The numbers speak for themselves. They play an aggressive brand of basketball. You can’t get on your heels. You have to hit first and then rebound.”
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