The Woodward News

Sports

January 17, 2013

Thunder crush Denver, 117-97

Woodward, Okla. — By Michael Kinney

CNHI News Service

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Denver Nuggets were riding their longest winning streak of the season when they strolled into Oklahoma City on Wednesday. They were expected to provide a battle for the top team in the Western Conference.

Instead, the Nuggets got a lesson in just how big the gap is between them and the Thunder. Oklahoma City dismantled Denver 117-97 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“We didn’t have a good offensive game, we didn’t have a good defensive game,” Denver coach George Karl said. “We didn’t have a good energy game. They seemed to be the hungry team from the very beginning. You are playing maybe the best team in basketball. They played with a high level of commitment and they wanted to kick our butts. And they did.”

Denver (24-17) saw its run of wins end at six games, and the Nuggets dropped eight games behind Oklahoma City (31-8) in the Northwest Division standings.

Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 32 points on 12-for-20 shooting, his second consecutive 30-plus point outing. Kevin Durant had a quiet 20 points to go along with five steals and four assists. Neither played in the fourth quarter. Kevin Martin came off the Thunder bench to chip in 20 points.

“We just try to play up to our level,” Durant said. “We have a level we want to reach every single game. It’s the Thunder way of basketball. Guys are buying in. If you have a team full of guys that buy in, then anything can happen. I learned that from Ray Lewis.”

Kosta Koufos paced the Nuggets with 16 points and nine rebounds. Reserve center JaVale McGee contributed 15 points and three blocked shots for Denver. Other than that, Oklahoma City shut down one of the league’s top scoring offenses.

“I think we did a good job defensively,” Westbrook said. “It showed from the start of the game. I thought we did a great job of getting back in transition.”

The Thunder started the night off slicing up the Nuggets’ defense. Denver looked like a team playing the second night of back-to-back games, which it was, and Oklahoma City took advantage with ball movement and dribble and isolation plays.

Westbrook led the charge, scoring 16 points to give Oklahoma City a 34-18 advantage after one quarter.

As efficient as the Thunder’s offense was, the Nuggets were just as lackluster. Koufos was the only Denver player who had any energy whatsoever. The rest of the squad sleepwalked through the entire first half, and the Nuggets trailed 67-47 at halftime.

Denver never got the deficit above 17 in second half, as the Oklahoma City bench of Reggie Jackson, DeAndre Liggins, Perry Jones III and Jeremy Lamb kept the defense rolling. All four players have seen time on the franchise’s D-League team, the Tulsa 66ers.

With its own five-game winning streak in hand, Oklahoma City now hits the road for 14 days on its longest road trip of the season. Despite the Thunder’s recent success, Durant doesn’t expect his team to slow down any time soon.

“We’re greedy,” Durant said. “In this league you have to be greedy. Just as quickly as you can win four or five in  a row, you can lose four or five in a row. We know we can never be complacent and that’s the best part about our team.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Travelers knocked out of Connie Mack Tournament

    ENID – Texas Stix scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning and defeated the Traveler Majors 4-3 Friday in the Connie Mack Regional.

    July 26, 2014

  • Travelers drop 6-1 decision

    ENID - DBat Gallegos out of the Dallas area dropped the Traveler Majors into the elimination bracket of the South Plains Connie Mack Regional with a 6-1 decision Thursday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 26, 2014

  • Majors move into regional semifinals

    ENID – A second straight dynamite pitching effort and timely offense have the Traveler Majors in the championship semifinals of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional.

    July 24, 2014

  • Traveler Majors take regional opener

    ALVA - The Traveler Majors continued their strong Connie Mack playoff showing at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • web1.jpg Travelers win Connie Mack state championship

    Down 2-0 and down to their final three outs, the Traveler Majors delivered a championship rally in the seventh inning Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • Traveler Majors in Connie Mack Finals

    ENID - The Traveler Majors are one win away from their second Connie Mack State Tournament championship in three years.

    July 20, 2014

  • Majors win Connie Mack Opener

    ENID – Brett Lorah allowed two hits over 6.1 innings and Jesus Gamez shut down a threat in the seventh as the Travelers beat Southmoore 3-0 in the Connie Mack State Tournament on Wednesday.

    July 18, 2014

  • State tourney field set

    Fuller Park will be the host site for the OK Kids Minors (15-under) State Baseball Tournament Tuesday through Saturday.

    July 15, 2014

  • Majors finish second in festival

    After a second place finish in the Woodward Festival on Sunday, the Traveler Majors will go to Enid this week for the Connie Mack State Tournament.

    July 15, 2014

  • Traveler Festival continues

    The Traveler Minors finished the preliminary rounds of the Woodward Festival with a 2-2 record after dropping a 10-1 decision to the Oklahoma Tribe at Fuller Park Saturday morning.

    July 15, 2014