Nuggets Vs. Thunder: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook Too Much For Denver In Game 1

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Nuggets Vs. Thunder: NBA Issues Statement On Kendrick Perkins' Goaltending Non-Call

The NBA released a statement on Monday afternoon regarding the non-call of offensive goaltending on Kendrick Perkins in Game 1 of the Nuggets-Thunder game:

"Kendrick Perkins was improperly credited with a basket that should have been ruled offensive basket interference with 1:05 remaining in last night's game. Although a player is permitted to touch the net while the ball is in the cylinder above the rim, Perkins also touched the ball while it was still in the cylinder which is a violation and constitutes goaltending."

You can see video of Kendrick Perkins' illegal touch here.

While it's good to know that the NBA admits the play was a blown call, it doesn't change all that much. Even if the refs had gotten the call correct, there's no way to know how the game would have played out. We just can't know that. Maybe the Nuggets would have committed a turnover on the ensuing possession and given the Thunder an opportunity to take the lead then. It happened, the NBA acknowledged the blown call, so let's move on.


Nuggets Vs. Thunder Final Score: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook Give Oklahoma City 107-103 Edge Over Denver

It was a back-and-forth game for the final minutes of Sunday's game between the Denver Nuggets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, but OKC prevailed in the end, 107-103. Kevin Durant (41) and Russell Westbrook (31) combined for 72 of the Thunder's points in the four-point victory.

The Nuggets closed the first quarter of play with a 33-24 lead, but held just a one-point lead at halftime, 60-59. Both teams shot well all night long, the Nuggets at 50.6 percent and the Thunder at 49.4 percent. However, the Nuggets were hurt at the free throw line, making just 21-of-33. The Thunder made 22-of-28.

The Nuggets held a 101-100 lead with 40 seconds left in the game, but then Kendrick Perkins made a tip-in to put the Thunder up, 102-101. However, upon replay it was clearly goaltending as Perkins had his hand through the net as he touched the ball to put it over the rim. But, as with most blown calls, there were plenty of other opportunities for the Nuggets to help get the win, like making more of their free throw attempts.

Nene led the Nuggets with 22 points and eight rebounds. Danilo Gallinari followed him with 18 points, while Kenyon Martin turned in a solid 10-point, seven-rebound and five-assist game. Raymond Felton put up 12 points and dished the ball out for eight assists off the bench.

In addition to his 41 points, Durant grabbed nine boards. Westbrook pulled down six rebounds and handed the ball out for seven assists. Serge Ibaka had four blocks, equaling the Nuggets' team total.

With the Thunder up one game this series continues on Wednesday in Oklahoma City at 6:00 p.m. MT. TNT will have TV coverage again


Nuggets Vs. Thunder: Can George Karl And Denver Open With A Victory?

Pessimists in this series between the No. 5 Denver Nuggets and the No. 4 Oklahoma City Thunder would point to Denver's two losses to Oklahoma City in April as a sign that the Thunder have the upper hand entering this series. Maybe so, but this Nuggets team should not be taken lightly.

As the Carmelo Anthony trade drama played itself out, the Nuggets could have turned into a tailspin and fallen once the trade to the Knicks went through. However, the Nuggets were reinvigorated and went 18-7 over the 25 remaining games. Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari (when healthy) and Raymond Felton all played large parts during that run. Ty Lawson, who became the starting point guard, stepped up and capped off his regular season with a 37-point game (10 threes made) against the team that drafted him, the Minnesota Timberwolves.

However, the Nuggets will need to contend with Kevin Durant (league-leading 27.7 points) and Russell Westbrook (21.9 points) on OKC's offensive side of things.  In four regular season games, Durant averaged 31.5 points, which may not bode well for this series. The Nuggets will also need to solve Kendrick Perkins, whom the Thunder acquired at the trade deadline. Perkins has averaged 7.9 rebounds in his 17 games with the Thunder.

Arron Afflalo is out for the Nuggets with a left hamstring injury, the same one that kept him out at the end of the season. Gallo, Lawson, Nene and Timofey Mozgov, though banged up, are all expected to be available to play.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MT, and TNT will have the coverage.

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