Thunder Vs. Nuggets Final Score: Denver Loses Ground To Oklahoma City As Kevin Durant Scores 32 Points

Denver couldn't stop Kevin Durant from scoring 32 points on Tuesday night.

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Thunder Vs. Nuggets Final Score: Kevin Durant's 32 Points Too Much For Denver To Overcome

Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Kevin Durant scored 32 points and pulled down nine rebounds, as the Oklahoma City Thunder inched closer to winning the Northwest Division title with a 101-94 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Russell Westbrook added 18 points and six assists for the Thunder, who now hold a four-game lead over the Nuggets in the division.

The Thunder hold the fourth spot in the Western Conference, while the Nuggets sit in fifth. Both teams have five games left in the regular season, including a meeting against each other in Oklahoma City on Friday.

Ty Lawson finished with 28 points for Denver, which secured a playoff spot with Sunday's win over the Lakers. Danilo Gallinari tallied 17 points and six boards.

The Thunder led 27-16 after 12 minutes of action, but the Nuggets surged back in the second to cut the gap to 48-47 at the half.

Neither team led by more than eight in a tight third period, which ended with Oklahoma City holding a 69-67 edge.

Denver scored the first five points of the fourth to go in front. The Thunder, though, tallied the next 16 points. Durant recorded the final four points of the spurt to give Oklahoma City an 85-72 lead with over 6 1/2 minutes to play.

The Nuggets got within four a few times down the stretch, but the Thunder made their free throws to secure the victory.

Game Notes

The Thunder have taken two of three from the Nuggets this season...James Harden had 13 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which went 27-of-35 from the foul line...Kenyon Martin tallied 14 points and seven rebounds for Denver, which went 17-of-26 from the charity stripe.

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Thunder Vs. Nuggets: Pivotal Game In Playoff Race

The Denver Nuggets trail the Oklahoma City Thunder by three games in the Western Conference playoff standings with six games left in the season.  With first round home court advantage on the line, tonight's game could go a long way in determining who can advance out into the second round of the NBA playoffs.

With the Nuggets sitting in the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings, and the Thunder currently holding the fourth spot, the two teams look like they are destined to match-up against each other once the playoffs begin. But with only three games separating the two teams, and with two of each team's six remaining games against the other, what isn't known is if the Thunder can hold onto the fourth spot, meaning first round home court advantage. If the Nuggets can win tonight, and also take Friday's game in Oklahoma City, then it is a virtual crap shoot on who gets which seed. And the way the Nuggets are rolling, don't think they can't overtake the Thunder.   

Having won six straight, and 15 of 19 since the big trade that brought Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov from New York, the Nuggets are playing arguably their best basketball of the season.  Hold overs Ty Lawson, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith are playing better, more organized ball, and the team's head honcho, George Karl, is coaching as well as anyone since the February 22 deal.

And they might be catching Oklahoma City at the right time. The Thunder have dropped two straight, after winning 11 of 12, and Kevin Durant has been outplayed by fellow Big 12 Alumni LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin in the two losses. Durant hasn't been contained, mind you, but in those losses he is shooting 19-of-48 (39.6 percent) from the field and only 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) from three point range.

For Denver to win Felton and Lawson need to disrupt Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and the forwards need to keep Durant off-balance, leading him to take poor shots and continue with his shooting woes.

Tonight's game tips off at 7:00 p.m. MDT and can be seen on Altitude.

Follow all things Nuggets on SB Nation's Denver Stiffs or the Thunder on SB Nation's Welcome to Loud City.

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