Nuggets silence Durant, Thunder
DENVER — 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, last 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.
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 defense 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."
CAVALIERS 111, NETS 92
LeBron James had 26 points and 14 assists, J.J. Hickson added 20 points and 13 rebounds, and visiting Cleveland opened a 20-point first-quarter lead in cruising past New Jersey for its fifth straight victory.
MAGIC 117, WARRIORS 90
Dwight Howard had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and host Orlando cruised to a victory over undermanned Golden State to keep a tight grip on the Eastern Conference's No. 2 playoff seed. The Magic lead Atlanta by two games.
CELTICS 104, BOBCATS 80
Paul Pierce scored 27 points and Nate Robinson had 16 points, including three 3-pointers in a 90-second span bridging the first and second quarters to key a 16-0 run, as host Boston beat Charlotte.
BUCKS 100, WIZARDS 87
John Salmons had 22 points, scoring in double figures in all eight games he's played in since a trade deadline deal with Chicago, as host Milwaukee beat Washington to improve to 7-1 since the All-Star break.
HAWKS 112, 76ERS 93
Marvin Williams scored 21 points, Jamal Crawford added 20, and Mike Bibby hit a jumper for an 11-10 lead with 6:37 left in the first quarter and host Atlanta never trailed again in beating Philadelphia for its third straight victory.
KNICKS 128, PISTONS 104
Bill Walker scored a career-high 22 points in his first career start, and three teammates also scored at least 21 as host New York handed Detroit its fifth straight loss. Al Harrington scored 26, and David Lee and Tracy McGrady each finished with 21 for the Knicks.
GRIZZLIES 104, HORNETS 100
Mike Conley scored a season-high 26 points and James Posey turned the ball over and Rudy Gay dunked as time expired to help Memphis defeat New Orleans to win its franchise-record fifth straight road game.
KINGS 84, ROCKETS 81
Carl Landry had 22 points and 10 rebounds against his former team, and Beno Udrih added 13 points to help Sacramento beat Houston and snap a four-game road losing streak. Landry's two free throws with 4 seconds left sealed the win.
MAVERICKS 112, TIMBERWOLVES 109
Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points, including a short jumper for a 99-98 lead with 6:07 left and host Dallas never trailed again in holding off Minnesota for its ninth straight victory.
TRAIL BLAZERS 102, PACERS 79
Brandon Roy scored 22 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points and seven rebounds, and host Portland cruised past Indiana, while scoring more than 100 points in six straight games for the first time since Feb. 4-17, 1998.
SUNS 127, CLIPPERS 101
Amare Stoudemire had 30 points and 14 rebounds, and visiting Phoenix breezed to its second rout of Los Angeles in six days to sweep the four-game season series for the second straight year.