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Durant stymied in loss to Nuggets

Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant covers his head with a towel as he leaves the court...
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DENVER (AP)

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant overpowered the Denver Nuggets the last time the teams played. It was a different story in a rematch.

Carmelo Anthony outplayed Kevin Durant, scoring 30 points, and the Nuggets took control with a big third quarter to rout the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-90 on Wednesday night.

Durant, the NBA's second-leading scorer, was held to 19 points after averaging 31 in two previous games against the Nuggets this season, including a 101-84 win in Oklahoma City on Jan. 29 in the teams' last meeting.

Kevin Durant

'Melo and the Nuggets focused their defensive efforts on stopping Durant.
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Denver coach George Karl said the Nuggets focused their defensive efforts on Durant, using double teams and rotating their big men to give him different looks.

``He's been playing incredible and we just wanted to throw some things at him that disrupted him, make him do things he's not used to doing,'' Karl said. ``We felt like we had to give him different looks. Next time, he might beat them, but tonight, he seemed to be frozen a little bit by some of the switching that we did.''

Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin said the more aggressive defensive stance took Durant out of his comfort zone.

``We were putting two bodies on him, not letting him do the things he's great at doing, which is just catching and shooting the ball,'': Martin said.

Durant finished 5 of 14 from the field, part of an abysmal shooting night by the Thunder, who converted only 33 percent of their field goals.

``It came down to their defensive pressure,'' Durant said. ``They didn't allow us to come down and get the shots we wanted. We have to be better than that against a great team like that.

``This is a wake-up game. You are going to have games like this. You have think about what we did, move on and make the adjustments we need to make for our next game. It's just a bump in the road. A minor setback.''

Nene added 20 points and J.R. Smith had 18 for the Nuggets, who averted a third consecutive loss.

Along with Denver's defense, the Nuggets got a strong game from Anthony, who was treated for dehydration with intravenous fluids earlier in the day. Anthony said he has been feeling run down for the last week and a half.

``I had some some IVs because I've been under the weather,'' Anthony said. ``I just wasn't feeling right. My body wasn't right. My energy wasn't right and it took me a week and a half to figure out that i was almost down to nothing. I was dehydrated. I was literally drained.''

The treatment did the trick though.

``The juices kicked in. Obviously it worked,'' he said.

James Harden also had 19 points and Serge Ibaka 15 for the Thunder, who lost for just the third time in their last 15 games.

It was Oklahoma City's sixth consecutive loss to the Nuggets in Denver, however.

Up by nine at halftime, the Nuggets outscored the Thunder 31-12 to take a 92-64 lead into the final period.

Oklahoma City hit only four of 23 shots from the field in the period (17 percent), and when Anthony nailed a 17-foot jumper to start the fourth, the Nuggets were up by 30 points.

Anthony, who ranks third in the league in scoring behind LeBron James and Durant, scored 23 in the first half, helping the Nuggets take a 61-52 lead.

Denver used an 11-3 burst, capped by successive dunks by Chris Andersen and Nene, to open up a 15-point advantage with 6:21 left in the second quarter but Durant responded with a 3-pointer to touch off a surge that reduced Denver's lead to single digits in time for the break.

NOTES: Nuggets G Ty Lawson missed a second consecutive game with a left shoulder contusion. ... Oklahoma City allowed an opponent to reach 100 or more points for only the seventh time in the last 22 games. ... The Thunder fell to 15-22 against teams that are .500 or better. ... Denver improved to 26-5 at the Pepsi Center this season. ... The Thunder has not won in Denver since March 28, 2007. Kenyon Martin and Ibaka each finished with 13 rebounds.

Tagged: Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Kevin Durant, Chris Andersen, Serge Ibaka, James Harden, Ty Lawson, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Nets, Thunder, Kenyon Martin, LeBron James

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