2011 NBA Playoffs: Thunder Look Dominant vs. Nuggets in Game 2

| by Alex Groberman

On Sunday night, the Denver Nuggets were essentially robbed of a fair chance at winning the first game of this round-one series because of a slight mistake by the officials. No, scratch that, it was a horrible mistake. It was so egregious an error, in fact, that the league came out the next day and admitted that its referees had messed up – badly.

On Wednesday night, there wasn’t a bad call in the world that could have swayed the game -- or the series -- back in the Nuggets’ favor. They looked so overmatched, so completely overwhelmed by the Oklahoma City Thunder’s versatile attack, that their loss felt like it came by more than the 17-point margin that the 106-89 final score at the end of Game 2 would indicate.

Aside from the aforementioned awful call that went Oklahoma City’s way, the other main Thunder-related talking point following Game 1 was how poorly everyone not named Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook played in that outing. This, of course, was an understandable concern given that the dynamic duo scored a combined 72 points in that first game.

This time around, it was far more of a team effort. Durant ended up with 23 points and Westbrook pitched in 21 of his own. In the end, though, it took a unified plan of attack to at one point, early in the second quarter, give the Thunder a 26-point advantage over the suddenly hapless Nuggets.

When it was all said and done, James Harden scored 18 points and Serge Ibaka dropped a 12-point, 12-rebound performance. Kendrick Perkins, the team’s high-profile trade deadline acquisition who was supposed to turn the Thunder into insta-contenders, finished with 11 rebounds -- playing a key role in his squad’s 41-19 rebounding advantage towards the end of the third quarter.

The Nuggets never really appeared to have a shot in this one. The Thunder held its opponent without a basket for nearly three minutes en route to a 14-5 run that all but closed the books on a potential victory by the road team.  

Ty Lawson did what he could for Denver, but it was to no avail. In the end he finished the game with a quiet 20 points, leading the way in scoring for his team. Raymond Felton and Nene pitched in 16 points, each.

This was the Thunder’s fourth victory over the Nuggets in the last 16 days.