The Denver Nuggets' 2011 season came to an end on Wednesday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated them, 100-97. Kevin Durant carried the Thunder on his back with 41 points, but Serge Ibaka was also a key contributor on the defensive side of the ball.
It was a poor shooting night overall for the Thunder (36.6 percent), but Durant hit 14-of-27 shots, including two three-pointers. However, what helped him and his team was his 11 free throws made. The Thunder got calls all night long to get to the line, so the Thunder were able to make 34-of-42 free throw attempts. Durant's teammate, Russell Westbrook, made just 3-of-15 shots, but he made seven of his 10 free throws.
Serge Ibaka was a defensive beast all night long. Though he scored just one point, Ibaka blocked nine shots and grabbed eight rebounds. He had a key one against Nene in the final minutes of play.
With about 3:30 left in the game, the Nuggets held a nine-point lead, but then failed to hold the lead (whether due to questionable calls by the refs or not). Arron Afflalo led the team with 15 points, while Kenyon Martin added 14 points and 10 rebounds. However, the Thunder dominated the boards, 51-38. The Thunder had 16 offensive rebounds, the Nuggets just four.
The Thunder have won a playoff series for the first time since 2005, and that was when they were still the Seattle SuperSonics. The Nuggets have now exited the playoffs in the first round in seven of the last eight years.