Some say the Nuggets don't have a go-to guy. It showed in Sunday's 107-103 loss at Oklahoma City in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series.
The Nuggets didn't have a field goal after forward Danilo Gallinari hit a jumper with 3:06 left to put them up 101-100. After that, they were outscored 7-2 the rest of the game.
During the final three minutes, the Nuggets shot 0-of-5 from the field. Their only two points came on a pair of foul shots by Gallinari with 6.2 seconds left to cut the deficit to 106-103. But Thunder guard Russell Westbrook wrapped up the game by splitting a pair of foul shots with 5.3 seconds left for a 107-103 lead.
For the Thunder, the go-to guys were quite evident. Forward Kevin Durant scored 41 points and Westbrook had 31.
"It feels good to have main options, especially down the stretch," Durant said.
The Nuggets downplayed not having a go-to guy. It's been the only serious criticism leveled against them after they went 18-7 to close the regular season after the Feb. 22 trade of scorers Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York.
"We've been playing this way the whole time," said guard Raymond Felton. "I think it's better when you don't have a go-to guy that everybody can scout before. There's no telling who's going to have the ball in their hands."
It was Felton who had the ball with a chance to tie the score and the clock winding down. But his three-pointer with 12 seconds left and the Nuggets trailing 104-101 was off the mark.
Nuggets coach George Karl said the play was designed to get the ball to guard Ty Lawson, who certainly was the go-to guy when he scored 37 points April 9 against Minnesota. But the Timberwolves obviously aren't the Thunder.
THUNDER 107, NUGGETS 103: The Nuggets lost Game 1 of a first-round playoff series Sunday at Oklahoma City because the Thunder had too much firepower. Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 72 points, with Durant scoring 41 and Westbrook getting 31. The two combined for 16 points in the fourth quarter, with Durant getting 11 and Westbrook five. The Nuggets got a team-best 22 points from center Nene.
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