Article

Nuggets end Thunder´s NBA winning streak

21 January 2013 06:36

Western Conference high-flyers Oklahoma City were edged 121-118 in overtime by the Denver Nuggets in Sunday's NBA action.

The Thunder – who entered the match with a 32-8 season record – saw a six-game winning streak come to an end at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

The two sides met just four days earlier and Oklahoma City were easy 117-97 winners but the 2012 NBA runners-up were given a far sterner test on this occasion, with Denver leading 51-50 after a tense first half.

The third quarter was neck-and-neck and Denver regularly threatened to kick clear of their opponents.

But buoyed by terrific contributions from stars Kevin Durant (37 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) and Russell Westbrook (36 points, nine assists), the Thunder would not lie down.

Denver held a slender 81-79 lead at the final change and with just over six-and-a-half minutes they opened an 11-point lead.

And that was a lead that remained the same with less than three minutes to play before the Thunder produced a stirring comeback.

They scored 13 of the last 15 points in regulation time – seven of which came from Westbrook – to force overtime.

No side led by more than three points in an end-to-end period of additional time but it was the efforts of Diego Gallinari (18 points, six rebounds) and Kenneth Faried (16 points, 10 rebounds) that carried the victors across the line.

Corey Brewer (26 points) was terrific off the bench for Denver, who had seven players score 10 points or more in an even contribution across the board.

The Los Angeles Lakers' dreadful run of form continued as they slipped to their eighth loss in their last 10 matches.

This time they were beaten by the Toronto Raptors, who despite losing their last four matches, lifted to post a 108-103 victory with Argentine Jose Calderon (22 points, nine assists) playing a key role for the winners.

A 30-21 third quarter saw Toronto lead by 13 at three quarter time and that was extended to 19 in the final term.

The Lakers went on an 18-6 run to force an exciting ending to the contest – with Kobe Bryant (26 points) and Pau Gasol (25 points) the main players in the comeback – but they left themselves with too much to do.

Lakers centre Dwight Howard was ejected during the second quarter after picking up two technical fouls and his absence hurt the Lakers down the stretch as they lost further ground on cross-town rivals, the Clippers, and Golden State in the Western Conference's Pacific Division.

In other matches played on Sunday, the Boston Celtics lost their third match in a row as the Detroit Pistons led at every change in a 103-88 triumph, while the Dallas Mavericks toppled the Orlando Magic 111-105.

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