Kevin Durant had 30 points and Russell Westbrook finished two assists shy of a triple-double as the Oklahoma City Thunder reeled off their seventh straight win on Tuesday night, topping the Denver Nuggets, 105-93, at the Pepsi Center.
The Thunder led this one for most of the way and answered every run that the Nuggets made. Oklahoma City held Denver to 41 percent shooting and contained its perimeter game, as the Nuggets shot only 5-of-19 from beyond the arc.
Serge Ibaka, who scored the first 11 points of the contest for OKC, had one of the two double-doubles on the ballclub, posting 17 points and 10 rebounds. The aforementioned Westbrook had the other, going for 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight dimes.
J.J. Hickson had 20 points and 14 rebounds for Denver, which lost to the Thunder for the second time this season.
Oklahoma City led by as much as 18 in this one.
Let's break down the keys to this game.
Kevin Durant: The Silent Assassin
If you were watching this game, you didn't really notice Durant all that much. Then, you take a look at the box score, and you see that he has 30 points off 11-of-23 shooting and you just think to yourself, "Wow. This guy is truly incredible."
Durant had a huge third quarter in particular, scoring 12 points and playing a significant role in putting the Nuggets down by double digits.
Durant also grabbed six rebounds and only registered two turnovers.
An Efficent Game by Russell Westbrook
Few stars absorb as much criticism as Westbrook, but tonight, he put a cork in the mouth of all of his naysayers, shooting an efficient 9-of-16 from the floor and doing a tremendous job running the offense.
His intention from the get-go was clearly to get his teammates involved, and you could see that he was actively looking or Ibaka in the early going.
Not only that, but Westbrook was an animal on the glass, as he had amassed 12 rebounds midway through the third quarter. On many of the boards he hauled in, he instantly pushed the ball up the floor to catch the Nuggets on their heels, resulting in transition points for OKC.
Great, great effort by Westbrook.
Missed Shots at the Rim by Denver
The Nuggets missed an unacceptable amount of shots at the cup in this one, some of them not even contested.
In the second quarter in particular, Denver blew numerous chippies around the rim, and with every blown opportunity the Nuggets suffered, the Thunder took full advantage. Scott Brooks' club ended up taking an eight-point lead into the half largely due to Denver's ineptness offensively.
Nuggets Were Simply Stagnant
There was very little movement offensively for the Nuggets in this one. Yes, OKC's defense deserves some credit, but too often, Denver looked very lethargic on the offensive end of the floor and dribbled out entire possessions on the perimeter.
This resulted in missed shots late in the shot clock which allowed the Thunder to get out on the break and punish the Nuggets with transition points.