OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 20: Russell Westbrook #0 oo\ fouls Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Nuggets Vs. Thunder: Denver Drops Game 2 To OKC, 106-89

The Nuggets head home down two games to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Nuggets Vs. Thunder: Denver Digs Early Hole, Loses To Oklahoma City, 106-89

When the Denver Nuggets return home to the Pepsi Center for Game 3 on Saturday, they will be down 0-2 in their series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Nuggets struggled for most of the night, losing by 17 points, 106-89.

The Thunder started off hot with help from their support players in James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Harden had 14 points at halftime (16 total), and Ibaka and Perkins combined for 15 rebounds (23 total). Ibaka finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. While not the 72 points they scored in Game 1, Kevin Durant (23 points) and Russell Westbrook (21) combined for 44 this time around.

The Nuggets came out flat during the first quarter of the game, not making a field goal in the first four minutes of play. They shot in the 20 percent range at one point and were down by as many as 26 points in the second quarter. During the second half, the Thunder lead was cut to 10, but that was quickly distanced again. They shot 39.1 percent from the field.

Ty Lawson had a team-high 20 points, making 7 of 13 shots and sinking five free throws. Nene fell a rebound short of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Raymond Felton (16) and Al Harrington (15) combined for 31 points off the bench. Wilson Chandler missed all six field goals he attempted. Arron Afflalo, still out with injury, was sorely missed in this game.

According to TNT, teams that go down 0-2 in a seven-game series have come back to win it just 14 times in 233 series. That does not bode well for the Nuggets. Game 3 of this series tips at 8:00 p.m. MT on Saturday, April 23 inside the Pepsi Center.


Nuggets Vs. Thunder Score: Oklahoma City Dominates In 1st Half, Leads At Halftime, 59-44

Did the Denver Nuggets enter Game 2 with the Oklahoma City Thunder demoralized following their Game 1 loss on Sunday? It certainly looks that way, as the Nuggets are down, 59-44, at halftime. Poor shooting combined with shoddy defense let the team down, but they started to show some life in the final minutes of the half when they went on a 9-0 run and brought a 26-point deficit to just 12.

Somewhat surprisingly, it hasn't just been the Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook show like it was in Game 1. James Harden, who scored just five points off the bench in the first game, has 14 through the first half of the second game. Serge Ibaka (9) and Kendrick Perkins (6) have led the Thunder to a 29-15 advantage in rebounds. Durant has scored 11 points, followed by Ibaka's 10.

The Nuggets failed to make a bucket in the first four minutes of the game, but eventually improved their shooting to 37.8 percent (14-37). Al Harrington leads the Nuggets with 10 points, while Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton each have nine. Unlike in the first game, the Nuggets have made their free throws (10-13) only to go cold shooting early on.

What does George Karl have to say during halftime to get these guys going?


Nuggets Vs. Thunder Score: Denver Comes Out Flat, Down By 16 After 1st Quarter

The Denver Nuggets just couldn't make a basket in the first quarter or defend the Oklahoma City Thunder, losing, 31-15, after the first quarter. The Thunder opened with back-to-back threes from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant for the early 6-0 lead and took off from there. For the first four minutes of the game the Nuggets couldn't even make a basket.

Kendrick Perkins committed a flagrant-1 foul, which sent Wilson Chandler to the foul line. He made both, and then Nene made one of two free throws after he was fouled. Ty Lawson made a layup for the team's first bucket with 7:58 left on the clock. But overall they are shooting 29.4 percent from the field (5-17). They have already committed seven turnovers.

The Thunder, though, came out with a ton of energy and took advantage of the Nuggets' flat start. Serge Ibaka has been around the glass all quarter, pulling down rebounds. They have outrebounded Denver, 15-6. Kevin Durant leads the team with seven points.

George Karl picked up a technical foul for yelling at the refs after they did not call a foul on Ibaka late in the quarter.

The Nuggets will need to regroup an figure things out fast if they hope to stay in this game.


Nuggets Vs. Thunder: Denver Looks To Even Up Series Tonight In OKC

The Denver Nuggets should be up 1-0 in the series.

They know it.

The Oklahoma City Thunder know it.

Even the NBA league office knows it.

Yet despite a complete understanding by most, it is the Thunder who head into Wednesday's Game 2 of the NBA Playoffs up 1-0.

The Nuggets can win - and even up the series as it heads back to Denver - with a little tweaking of their strategy, by focusing in on the Thunder's top two scorers.

OKC's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 72 of the Thunder's 107 points in Game 1. Many of Durant's points were the "No, No, No, YES!" types of buckets - ones where he was either off balance, or had a man in his face. For the Nuggets, and their fans, there is no shame in allowing a guy to score 41 when he is hitting those types of shots.

What Denver can control, though, is Westbrook.  He played a man's game on Sunday and it showed with his 31 points. If Denver is OK with allowing Durant to light it up with his ill-advised, yet nothing-but-net shots, then their chances of winning hinge on stopping Westbrook.

Do that, they'll come home on a one-game win streak.

Offensively, the Nuggets simply need to shoot better from the charity stripe. In Game 1, they combined for 21-33 from the line (63.6 percent) in a four-point loss. It can't be overstated that to win in the NBA, especially the playoffs, you can't give away free points, and the Nuggets opted out of 12 from the line.

As always, Denver utilized a balanced attack in the first game of the series. Nene Hilario, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson and Kenyon Martin all contributed double-digit scoring, while J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler added nine apiece.

The game tips at 6:00 p.m. and can be seen on TNT.

For fan coverage of the game, visits SB Nation's Denver Stiffs and Welcome to Loud City.

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