Thunder Vs. Nuggets: Kevin Durant Leads Oklahoma City To 101-94 Win

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Thunder Vs. Nuggets Final Score: Kevin Durant Leads Oklahoma City To 101-94 Win

A Herculean effort from Ty Lawson wasn't enough for the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook took over and carried the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 101-94 win. Westbrook and Durant scored a combined 50 points, setting the tone and setting the Thunder up for success right out of the gate. Oklahoma City jumped all over the Nuggets in the first quarter, taking a 27-16 lead after the first 12 minutes and surviving Denver's only serious in the second quarter.

After heading into the half up one, 48-47, Oklahoma City poured it on in the fourth quarter, turning a two-point lead into a seven-point win with a strong finish. The Nuggets had been hanging around, thanks in large part to Lawson, but weren't able to seal the deal in a game that meant little for either team in the standings.

Durant scored a game-high 32 points on 10-21 shooting from the floor and 11-12 shooting from the free throw line. Westbrook added 18 points and six assists to compliment Durant well. Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka weren't big factors on the offensive end, but were on the glass, grabbing 14 and 11 rebounds, respectively. James Harden came off the bench to add 13 points, with Eric Maynor adding another 10 in a relief role.

Lawson scored a team-high 28 points on 10-18 shooting to lead the way for the Nuggets. Danilo Gallinari added 17 points and Kenyon Martin added 14 points in the loss. Raymond Felton chipped in 10 points off the bench, as well. Nene had a team-high eight rebounds, but scored just seven points.

For more on the Nuggets, head over to Denver Stiffs and SB Nation Denver. For Thunder analysis, check out Welcome To Loud City.

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Thunder Vs. Nuggets: Can Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook Outshine Denver?

The Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Denver Nuggets (9 p.m. ET, local TV and League Pass) in a sure-bet NBA Playoffs preview. Not only will the Thunder and Nuggets almost assuredly hook up in the first round, but the series looks like a good bet to be the most competitive. Denver has been electric since trading Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton; Oklahoma City is still finding its way with Kendrick Perkins in place of Jeff Green, but the promise is there.

A wild undercurrent is that OKC undisputedly has the two best players in the matchup: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. With Nene, Gallinari, Felton and Ty Lawson, the Nuggets might claim deeper top-level or second-tier talent overall, but this is a stars' league, and Durant and Westbrook are the stars of this matchup. Is that a bit of a burden against a team as mystical and flexible as Denver? Or will KD and Westbrook turn their power into results?

Tuesday's game could lend some answers, though it's a toss-up as to whether both teams will come out with the required intensity. As noted, neither team has much to lose or gain in the standings; both are fairly entrenched, though a Denver win here would at least put some pressure on Oklahoma City to win a few more games to ensure home court advantage in the first round. Is that enough incentive for full effort? Or will the (smart) coaches look for rest and health over a win?

For more on the Nuggets, head over to Denver Stiffs and SB Nation Denver. For Thunder analysis, check out Welcome To Loud City.

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