Durant scores 30, Thunder fall to Nuggets
DENVER (AP) — The sudden resurgence of the Denver Nuggets has a lot to do with Randy Foye’s surprising scoring punch.
Foye had a season-high 24 points and the Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-88 Thursday night for their fourth win in a row after an eight-game losing streak.
It was the second time in two games that Foye, who hit six 3-pointers, established a season high. He was coming off a 23-point effort in which he made seven 3s in Denver’s victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
"I think it’s from my preparation, just understanding that every single day, no matter if I make six 3s in a game or seven, that I have to come in the next day and be ready to work," said Foye, who had struggled to find the range from beyond the arc earlier this season. "You put yourself in situations, if you work and do the right things, so that when you get in a game, nothing is foreign to you."
All that work on polishing his perimeter shot has been paying off. Foye has made 17 of 29 3-point attempts during Denver’s winning streak.
His latest effort helped the Nuggets overcome Kevin Durant’s 30 points as Denver beat the Thunder for the first time in three tries this season. The teams meet a final time in Oklahoma City on March 24.
Quincy Miller, making his first career start, had nine points while playing in place of Wilson Chandler, who remains day to day after straining his left groin against Boston, the team said.
"To beat a team like that, without Wilson and having young guys in there and not being that deep on the bench, was huge," Foye said.
Evan Fournier had 19 points, including four 3-pointers, and Ty Lawson added 16 points and 14 assists for Denver. Kenneth Faried grabbed 14 rebounds.
Fournier said he fed off Foye’s offensive output and the up-tempo pace set by Lawson.
"It gives you confidence, and the crowd was great tonight. The passing game was great," Fournier said. "I had a lot of wide-open shots that made the work a lot easier."
Reggie Jackson scored 13 and Derek Fisher 12 for the Thunder.
Serge Ibaka, who missed Tuesday night’s 112-101 loss at Utah because of flu-like symptoms, had eight points and 10 rebounds in his return.
"Tonight, we didn’t get a lot of good looks offensively and we didn’t move the ball well enough," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We took a lot of tough shots and our timing wasn’t where it needs to be and we missed a lot of 3s.
"Everything that happened tonight is correctable, which is good. It’s not that we had issues. The fact is, everything that we did wrong tonight we can go back and get better."
The Thunder missed their first 10 shots from 3-point range before Jackson and Durant each connected from beyond the arc on successive possessions, pulling Oklahoma City to 72-59.
Denver answered with several 3s over the next 6 minutes. Foye and Fournier hit two apiece, Lawson converted a three-point play and the Nuggets extended their lead to 89-66 by the end of the third quarter.
Overall, the Nuggets outscored the Thunder 29-15 in the third to build a 23-point lead heading into the final period. Oklahoma City didn’t make a significant dent in Denver’s advantage the rest of the way.
Despite getting 24 points from Durant in the first half, the Thunder trailed 60-51.
After Durant made a pair of free throws to pull Oklahoma City to 50-47 with 2:22 left in the second quarter, the Nuggets closed with a 10-4 burst punctuated by Lawson’s 3-pointer from the top of the key in the waning moments of the period.
NOTES: Durant scored 30 or more points for the 19th time this season. … The Thunder lost consecutive games for the third time this season. … Lawson has had five consecutive double-doubles, the longest such streak of his career. … Foye has scored in double figures in seven straight games.