Thunder 115, Nuggets 113

Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Forward Kevin Durant scored 38 points, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 115-113 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
However, the Thunder had to hold on in the final seconds to get the job done.
With 1:41 left, Denver and Oklahoma City sat tied at 105-105. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook missed two shots, but forward Serge Ibaka grabbed the rebound of the second and slung the ball out to Durant at the top of the key. Durant calmly drained a 3-pointer to put the Thunder (7-3) up by three.
Denver (4-6) cut the gap to 108-106 when forward Kenneth Faried made one of two free throws with 39 seconds left.
Westbrook then dribbled past Denver guard Randy Foye and forward J.J. Hickson for an uncontested layup to put the Thunder up by four with 22 seconds to go.
Nuggets guard Ty Lawson answered with a step-back jumper. With 14 seconds remaining, Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson was fouled and knocked down two free throws.
On the ensuing Nuggets possession, Ibaka was called for goaltending on a Lawson layup with 7.8 seconds left, slicing Oklahoma City's lead to two.
Westbrook was fouled on the inbounds pass and made one of two free throws.
Thunder guard Derek Fisher then fouled Lawson before he could get up a 3-point attempt with 3.9 seconds left. Lawson hit the first foul shot and attempted to miss the second, but the ball banked in. Denver was forced to foul Fisher, who sank both of his free throws for a 115-112 lead.
Westbrook fouled Lawson, who once again hit the first one. This time the second came off the rim and went out of bounds off a Oklahoma City player. Denver had the ball with 2.1 seconds to go.
Hickson got off a 3-pointer that hit nothing but backboard as the Thunder held on for the win.
Durant collected eight rebounds and six assists to go along with his 11-of-27 shooting. Westbrook contributed 30 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Lawson led Denver with 29 points and eight assists. Hickson had a game-high 19 rebounds to go with 18 points.
NOTES: Oklahoma City was coming off a three-game road trip in which it lost two in a row. Despite the defeats, coach Scott Brooks was impressed with his team's competitive nature. "We have a group that doesn't 't like to lose," Brooks said. "Even the game when we were down at Golden State, we felt we could make a run at them. That was one of the best games of the year." ... Denver F Wilson Chandler made his first start of the season. He missed the first two games of the season with a hamstring pull, then came off the bench for three contests. ... In the Thunder's previous six games, F Serge Ibaka averaged 18 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots. He made 64.3 percent of his shots over that span. Denver coach Brian Shaw said Ibaka should be in the All-Star conversation. "He's not the dynamic-type star player you typically think of as an All-Star," Shaw said, "but I think as coaches, we understand the value of what he brings to his team."

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