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Nuggets Take Early Lead, Never Look Back as Thunder Lose 99-112

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The Thunder came out of the blocks pretty slow in this one, and before the game was even midway through the first quarter, the Nuggets had a pretty good handle on a solid lead. After 1 quarter of play the Thunder were down 12 points, 19-31, and that lead would balloon to 16 points during the second quarter before the Thunder made a nice run near the end of the half to close the lead to 7 before Melo had a nice give and go alley oop slam to put an exclamation point on the half and take a 9 point advantage into the break. That's about the closest the Thunder would get all night.

Despite being a team on a slide, you can't forget that the Nuggets are a solid playoff team with a 23-8 record at home versus 17-17 on the road. So even though they have gone 3-8 in their last 11, beating them at home was a tall order to ask this young Thunder team, even with their current momentum, and Jeff Green back in the lineup for the second straight night. Green was the teams leading scorer again tonight, but with only 19 points, and was followed closely in that department by Earl Watson, with 18. Generally speaking, if we're relying on Earl Watson for points, we're not going to win.

Also, the Thunder usually dominate the glass, and tonight didn't have that advantage. They tied with the Nuggets as both teams pulled in 43 rebounds. While that's a respectable effort on the glass against a good team, this Thunder team is used to outright winning the rebound battle, and using that advantage to stay in, and sometimes win games. Nick Collison's rebounding was sorely missed tonight, as he could have been the guy inside to make the difference for the Thunder on the boards, but was once again inactive with an injury.

All in all, it wasn't a terrible performance by the Thunder when you consider the opponent, and that it was played on the road. They just got behind early, and were never really able to climb out of that hole. Good news for the Thunder is that they will have a couple days off before heading to Phoenix next, to take on the Suns. All signs are pointing to a Kevin Durant return, but you never know, they may wait one extra game so that he can get a couple more days rest, and make his return at home on Monday against the Spurs.