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Nuggets hold off Thunder in overtime

The SportsXchange

DENVER - The Denver Nuggets rarely run plays for Kenneth Faried, but when they called his number late in overtime, he came through.

Faried finished with 16 points and made a go-ahead layup late in overtime as the Nuggets held off the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-118 on Sunday night.

Kevin Durant scored a game-high 37 points, and Russell Westbrook had 36 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who were trying to win for their grieving coach, Scott Brooks, who led his team with a heavy heart after the passing of this mother, Lee Brooks, on Saturday night.

Brooks preferred not to talk about his mother's death before the game and only briefly addressed it after the loss.

"I'm good," he said. "I'm thankful and I'm good."

The Thunder almost came through for their coach with one of their stars playing on one leg. Westbrook went to the locker room just before halftime after Serge Ibaka stepped on his left leg late in the second quarter. Westbrook played the entire second half and overtime, scoring 17 points.

"I played through it because I was trying to win," said Westbrook, who has four straight 30-point games. "This was a big game for us."

His 3-pointer late in regulation helped wipe out an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter and send the game into overtime.

The Thunder led by one in the extra period before Faried took a pass in the low post, made a move on the shorter Kevin Martin and hit a layup with 46 seconds left to put Denver ahead 117-116.

"We were trying to get Kevin Martin guarding whomever," Nuggets guard Ty Lawson said. "He switched onto Kenneth Faried, and Kenneth made a big-time play. Two dribbles and a jump hook he's been working on."

Durant missed a 3-pointer at the other end, but Faried missed two free throws with 10 seconds left.

The Thunder called a timeout to set up a play, but an illegal screen called on Nick Collison gave the Nuggets the ball back. Andre Miller hit two free throws for the Nuggets with five seconds left to make it a three-point game.

Denver fouled Durant before he could get up a shot, and he hit two free throws to cut it to one. Wilson Chandler was fouled and sank both of his foul shots to regain the three-point margin.

Durant missed a 3-pointer, but Westbrook got the rebound. He was stripped by Corey Brewer to seal the win and send the Thunder to their first loss in the last six games.

"It's the best basketball game I've seen this year. Both teams going after each other and both of them were pretty good tonight," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We overcame some situations and circumstances that were difficult. When you give up 50 free throws and still win, it means you're doing a lot of good stuff."

The win was the 1,099th of Karl's coaching career and moved him past Larry Brown for sixth on the all-time list.

"I'm humbled by the idea I'm in the top 10. I never thought I'd be where I am," he said.

Brewer had 26 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, to lead Denver, which snapped a two-game skid.

The Thunder had to rally just to get the game into overtime. They trailed 107-96 before they scored 10 straight to cut it to one. After two free throws by Danilo Gallinari with 43 seconds left in regulation, Westbrook hit a long 3-pointer to tie it with 22 seconds left.

"There was five seconds left on the shot clock and they needed a 3 and we backed off and gave him the 3," Lawson said.

Denver couldn't get a shot off before the end of the period, sending the game to overtime.

Gallinari had 18 points and Kosta Koufos had 10 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.

Martin had 18 points and was the only Thunder bench player to score.

The Nuggets led 51-50 at halftime despite a combined 30 points from Westbrook and Durant.

NOTES: Westbrook and Durant combined to go 35-for-38 from the line. Durant made his first 18 free throws to extend his streak to 50 before he missed. ... Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti released a statement on behalf of the team regarding the passing of Brooks' mother. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Scott and his family as they mourn the loss of his mother, Lee. Over the years we have come to learn of the tremendous woman that she was; her love and dedication to family, her work ethic, her perseverance and the impact that she had on Scott. Clearly she was an incredible individual who we all came to admire in getting a small glimpse of her life. The entire Thunder organization supports Scott during this very difficult time."... Faried had 10 rebounds to record his 31st career double-double
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