The first real litmus test for the new and improved Nuggets rolled into town Thursday night in the form of the Kevin Durant-led Oklahoma City Thunder. Think you're playing well? Oklahoma City will be the judge of that. But the Nuggets passed the test. And it took all of them to get the 101-88 victory accomplished because Durant, for a big chunk of the game at the Pepsi Center, was a one-man wrecking crew. He distorted the Denver defense from the opening tip, sucking in defenders and putting foul after foul on the players attempting to guard him. But even in the NBA, where one player can lift a team to victory, Durant needed much more help than he got. His 30 points lit up the scoreboard, but the Nuggets (18-17) made sure no one else hurt them. That's how they walked away with their fourth consecutive win and went back over .500 for the first time since Dec. 23. "We're in a good place right now," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "We just want to keep riding this momentum that we have right now." Durant needed Russell Westbrook, but his teammate has been out after having minor knee surgery. He basically did the scoring for two players early on, doing much of the damage from the free-throw line. The Nuggets missed Wilson Chandler, who was out with a groin injury. That's the normal defensive matchup, and without him the Nuggets scrambled to find anyone who could be effective. But in the end it didn't matter. Eventually, the collective swarmed the individual under. The Nuggets attacked Oklahoma City in waves, getting a season-high 19 points from Evan Fournier, who continues to flourish in a bigger role, in addition to Randy Foye's team-high 24 points. "It's good," Foy said. "I don't know if they are number one or number two, but to beat a team like that, without Wilson (Chandler) and having some young guys in there and not being that deep on the bench, that was huge."
Nuggets overcome Kevin Durant to sprint past Thunder in Denver
Denver Post | Jan 10