Nuggets vs Thunder Recap: Denver Impresses for 3 Quarters, Chokes in 4th

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After a fast start and a sustained lead through nearly the entire game, indecision on offense, futility from the free throw line, and the inability to grab defensive rebounds allows the Oklahoma City Thunder to crawl to victory, 115-113.

The Oklahoma City Thunder shut down the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter. After trailing by as much as 12 points in the final frame, Oklahoma City put away Denver 115-113.

Kevin Durant lead all scorers with 38 points. Russell Westbrook added 30 points and 12 rebounds, while Ty Lawson lead Denver in scoring with 29 points. JJ Hickson ground his way to 18 points and 19 rebounds.

The Denver Nuggets opened the fourth quarter with a three pointer from Evan Fournier, extending their lead to 12 points. The rest of the quarter resembled the 1960's Batman television show. "JJ Hickson from the free throw line, KLANG!" "Wilson Chandler for three, THUD!" "Randy Foye from downtown, BOING!"

Oklahoma City opened the game 2-0 and didn't lead again until 4:11 remained in the final quarter 103-102. The key possession of the game came with 1:40 left in the game, tied at 105. Russell Westbrook missed two shots, but both were rebounded by Serge Ibaka. After the second miss, Ibaka kicked it out to Durant who nailed a dagger from downtown, 108-105 Thunder.

The game devolved into a free throw competition and Denver amazingly found themselves with one final chance to win or tie the game, trailing by two with 2.2 seconds remaining. They proceeded to take that opportunity, over throw that opportunity's intended target, then desperately chuck that opportunity at the hoop from 31 feet as time expired.

The Nuggets shot 11 more free throws than Oklahoma City, yet Denver made one less free throw for the game. 58% from the charity stripe is not good enough to win games on the road in the NBA.

Denver was out rebounded on the offensive glass, 19-10.

Blocks didn't end up as a major factor. In fact, early on Lawson was able to pull in multiple Thunder bigs allowing easy assists to unguarded Nuggets. Lawson was unable to penetrate in the fourth quarter and the offense stalled because of it.

Denver's bench was great in the first half and outscored OKC 42-31 during the game, but aside from Fournier no one off the bench factored into the game in the second half.

Kenneth Faried did his best Houdini impression and vanished for most of the game. He finished with 5 points and 6 rebounds.

Nate Robinson entered the game in the 2nd quarter with guns blazing. He began 3 for 3 from the field and added a steal that lead to a Fournier dunk. He quietly faded into the night after his grand entrance. Teasing us once again and leaving us hoping he'll save the day another time.

Robinson and the Nuggets were too often willing to settle for jumpers. It wasn't so bad in the first half when the shots were falling. But when the game tightened and the pressure mounted Denver clammed up. The offense wouldn't run, the attacking lanes closed, and open shots were unavailable. Oklahoma City was more than willing to foul any Nugget player approaching the basket, and Denver rewarded them by missing nearly half of their free throws. Tonight, a statement could have been made announcing that Denver had arrived after early growing pains. After the fourth quarter the only thing said was, "We are not ready."

Box Score

Opposition's Take: Welcome to Loud City

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Denver Stiffs

You must be a member of Denver Stiffs to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Denver Stiffs. You should read them.

Join Denver Stiffs

You must be a member of Denver Stiffs to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Denver Stiffs. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker