OKLAHOMA CITY — Forward Kevin Durant scored 27 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 117-96 victory over the Denver Nuggets Monday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant has now scored at least 25 points in 35 consecutive games and is five away from tying Michael Jordan’s all-time record since the NBA merger in 1976. Durant also had eight assists and shot 10-for-21 from the field.
The injury-plagued Nuggets (32-39) were never really in contention the entire night. Without the services of several key contributors, they did not have the horses to keep up with a Thunder (52-18) squad fighting for the best record in the NBA.
Even though it was without guard Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City led by 17 points going into the fourth quarter. Coach Scott Brooks let his bench finish the game.
Durant led six Thunder players in double-digit scoring. Forward Caron Butler came off the bench to pour in 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Guard Reggie Jackson scored 16 points to go along with a career-high 11 assists. It was his second straight double-double. Forward Serge Ibaka added 15 points and seven rebounds.
Denver was paced by guard Ty Lawson, who had 25 points and seven assists. Center Timofey Mozgov added 12 points and nine boards. Forward Kenneth Faried and guard Randy Foye each had 11 points in the loss.
NOTES: Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook did not play Monday against Denver. Coach Scott Brooks said he will be the lineup Tuesday in Dallas. “We have our reasons and there are many of them,” Brooks said. “He practiced yesterday and looked great. We felt we had this plan in place, and he will just sit out tonight and come back tomorrow.” Due to injuries, Denver had only nine healthy players in uniform in Oklahoma City. “I put on the board, ‘then there are nine,'” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “That’s how many players we’re down to tonight Wilson (Chandler) being out again and Jan (Vessely) being out.” … Oklahoma City F Kevin Durant was named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week after he led the Thunder to a 3-0 week, tallying 35 points or more in all three contests. He averaged a league-best 40.3 points-per-game along with 11.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists. He also shot 51.4 percent from the field and 54.2 percent from 3-point range. According to Elias, he is now on pace for NBA’s first 32-plus points-per-game, seven-plus rebounds-per-game and five-plus assists-per-game season since Michael Jordan in 1988-89.
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