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News » Dormant defense dooms ThunderNUGGETS 112, THUNDER 99


Dormant defense dooms ThunderNUGGETS 112, THUNDER 99


Dormant defense dooms ThunderNUGGETS 112, THUNDER 99
DENVER - Carmelo Anthony didn't need a last-second shot to sink Oklahoma City this time.

The Denver Nuggets put away the Thunder much earlier, leading from start to finish and building a 19-point advantage before securing a 112-99 victory at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.

Anthony, who hit two game-winners inside the final second at the Ford Center this season, scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Nuggets.

But the outcome was a predictable one by halftime, as the Nuggets built a 53-44 lead and appeared well on their way to 100-plus points. The Thunder fell to 4-29 under Scott Brooks when giving up 100 points or more. Oklahoma City is 13-6 when holding opponents to less than 100.

"The stats don't lie," Brooks said. "When we give up a lot of points, we're not going to be able to outrun and outscore teams just playing up-and-down Basketball. We have to be able to get stops and score off our defense."

The Thunder (18-47) did neither against a determined Denver club that entered the game having lost three straight and eight of its past 11. The Nuggets shot 50 percent and turned Wednesday's game into a layup drill.

"Coming off a back-to-back, we didn't have any execution," said guard Earl Watson, the lone bright spot with 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds off the bench. "The energy was missing. Sometimes that happens."

Denver players filled their roles to perfection and benefited from balanced scoring, superb ball movement and cutting hard to the basket without the ball. That mix led to seven Nuggets players in double-digit scoring, 33 assists on 42 made baskets and a 60-48 edge in points in the paint.

The Nuggets entered the fourth quarter ahead 83-70 and put the game away with an 8-2 run, capped by a J.R. Smith reverse dunk that put Denver up 19 with 9:53 left to play.

Six Thunder players scored in double figures, but Oklahoma City was far from efficient offensively. The team's 13 assists were a season low, characterizing the lack of ball movement that had been a mainstay throughout the team's recent success.

When Nuggets reserve guard Anthony Carter checked out with 8:03 left to play, his 12 assists were more than the 10 the Thunder had as a team.

"We must get back to what we were doing moving the ball," Brooks said. "But we weren't making shots. And when we weren't making shots we started going to too many one-on-one situations."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 14, 2009

 

 
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