OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma City Thunder (12-7) showed signs of fatigue playing their third game in four nights. Numerous missed shots, poor decisions and otherwise uncharacteristic basketball from one of the more consistent teams in the league.
Of course, the Denver Nuggets (13-7) are on their third game in the last four nights. With a strong close of the first quarter and a 30-19 performance in the second, the Nuggets ballooned their lead to 25.
A mountain to steep for Oklahoma City to overcome. Although they certainly made it interesting. How they got to make it interesting is where the frustration would set in.
The Thunder trailed at the end of the first quarter 33-23. A ten point margin didn’t appear insurmountable, Oklahoma City just wasn’t hitting shots. The offense generated great looks throughout.
The second quarter was a much different story. Poor shot selection and Denver getting hot from beyond the arc saw the lead climb to 20.
At the 1:21 mark of the second quarter, Denver held a 61-36 lead. It would be their largest lead of the night. The Thunder’s lack of relying on their strengths as a team defense and offense began to mount.
Then Oklahoma City woke up. Ultimately outscoring the Nuggets 62-44 the rest of the way. The defense led to numerous opportunities to not only come back, but take the lead.
Denver would not surrender the lead. The Thunder got as close as five. More questionable, and at times downright terrible, shot selection doomed Oklahoma City. Most notably from Russell Westbrook.
A 1-of-12 performance from three was the most glaring flaw in the Thunder’s attempted come back. As soon as Oklahoma City would make a stop, Westbrook would heave an off-balance three or hunt for a foul twenty-three feet from the basket.
The rally was ended by missed shots and timely Nuggets free throws.
The Thunder will now enjoy a break. They are off until Wednesday when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers