Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

January 21, 2013

Oklahoma City's winning streak snapped in OT loss to Denver

DENVER — Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook teamed up on another scoring spree for Oklahoma City. In a tightly contested game, though, Kenneth Faried's driving layup made the difference for Denver.

Faried scored the go-ahead layup in overtime, and the Nuggets overcame 30-plus point performances from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to beat the Thunder 121-118 Sunday night, snapping Oklahoma City's six-game winning streak.

Corey Brewer scored 26 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Nuggets, who reversed a 20-point loss to the Thunder last Wednesday. Danilo Gallinari added 18 points and Faried finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Brewer also set up Faried with a pass on his decisive drive to the basket.

"He gave me the ball and said, 'Go to work,'" Faried said. "They weren't going to come double me, and I said 'I'm going to score on this.' There were no ifs, ands or buts about it. I was going to score."

Faried's driving layup gave the Nuggets a one-point lead they would not relinquish with 46.5 seconds remaining in overtime.

"He made a big-time play," said Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, who finished with 11 points and nine assists. "He took two dribbles, and the little jump-hook he'd been working on, he hit."

The Thunder, who beat Dallas in overtime Friday night behind a career-high 52 points from Durant, lost for the first time in five overtime games this season. They got 37 points from Durant and 36 from Westbrook.

"They're great players," Faried said. "That's what they're going to do. We've just got to neutralize the players around them, because once they really get involved, then here come the blowouts and the tough losses."

Westbrook said the Nuggets deserved credit for their play.

"I think they did a good job coming in playing aggressive," he said. "I think we were just a step late. They made some open 3s, but we still had a chance to win."

The game was a difficult one emotionally as well for Thunder coach Scott Brooks, whose 79-year-old mother, Lee, died on Saturday. In a statement released by the club earlier, Brooks thanked friends, family and the team for their support and said his mom would have wanted him to coach Sunday night's game.

"I do so to honor her memory and all that she meant to me as a mother and as an invaluable role model," he said.

The Nuggets took a 101-90 lead after Lawson scored on a putback with 6:40 remaining. But the Thunder managed to pull to 103-96 after Durant made a 3-pointer with 4:17 left to play.

Andre Miller answered with a layup and Brewer made a pair of free throws to rebuild the Nuggets' lead to 107-96 with 3:04 remaining.

Oklahoma responded with a stunning 10-0 run culminating in successive 3-pointers by Durant and Kevin Martin, pulling to within 107-106 with 1:26 left to play.

After Gallinari made two free throws, Westbrook, playing the second half on a tender left ankle he injured earlier in the game, hit a 3-pointer to even the score at 109-all with 22.9 seconds remaining.

Maneuvering for a last-second shot, Lawson failed to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded ending regulation, and the game went into overtime.

After Durant, who made 20 of 21 from the free throw line, missed a long jumper, Faried missed two free throws with 10.6 seconds left. As the Thunder were going for the go-ahead shot, Nick Collison was called for an illegal screen, turning the ball over to the Nuggets.

The Thunder quickly fouled Miller, and he made both free throws with 5.4 seconds remaining. The Nuggets then fouled Durant, who made both free throws to pull the Thunder to within a point with 4.9 seconds left.

On the inbounds, the Thunder fouled Wilson Chandler, who made both free throws with 4.5 seconds left to give the Nuggets a three-point cushion. Durant tried for a tying 3-pointer at the final buzzer but it rimmed out.

"I think we gave ourselves a chance to win by going into overtime. We just couldn't finish," Durant said. "I missed a free throw, a jump shot. I can't do that."

Down by a point at the break, the Thunder got a boost when Durant hit his first 3-pointer of the game and Serge Ibaka followed with a basket to give Oklahoma City a 64-61 lead midway through the third quarter. The Nuggets scored the next seven points, starting with a 3-pointer by Gallinari and the game stayed tight with Denver taking an 81-79 lead into the fourth quarter after Corey Brewer made 1 of 2 free throws with .04 seconds remaining in the third.

The third quarter was marked by some chippy play on both sides. Kendrick Perkins was called for a flagrant foul when he swung an elbow that caught Faried in the head as they fought for a rebound.

Denver assistant John Welch was called for a technical for his protests from the bench on a goal-tending call against JaVale McGee, which resulted in a basket for Durant.

The teams were tied at 25-all after the first quarter and Denver nudged in front 51-50 at the half when Lawson made one of two free throws near the end of the second quarter.

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