Westbrook rallies Thunder past Nuggets, 122-112
OKLAHOMA CITY: Enes Kanter is listed at 6-foot-11 but is known as an “under-the-rim” player, teammate Kevin Durant says.
He sure overpowered the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
Kanter, Oklahoma City’s backup center, scored 11 of his 21 points in a five-minute span that featured two powerful dunks that gave the Thunder the momentum and helped lift them past the Nuggets, 122-112.
Russell Westbrook had 30 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, just missing what would have been his fourth triple-double of the season, as the Thunder rallied from an 11-point, second-half deficit.
Durant recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 26 points and 10 assists for the Thunder, who have won 10 of their last 12 games but were coming off a Christmas Day loss at home to the Chicago Bulls.
Oklahoma City shot a season-best 57.8 percent from the field. The Thunder trailed as late as the 8:13 mark of the fourth quarter before taking control with an 11-2 run. Kanter’s tip-in of a miss by Serge Ibaka put the Thunder ahead for good at 98-97 with 7:50 left.
Kanter then took a pass from Westbrook and dunked over 6-foot-10 Nikola Jokic while being fouled. Kanter hit the ensuing free throw, then two more free throws with 6:38 left. His final dunk came with 4:33 left and made it 109-102. He also grabbed eight rebounds, five offensive.
Kenneth Faried had 25 points and 11 points for the Nuggets, who have lost five of their last six games. Denver has lost six straight trips to Oklahoma City.
The Thunder started slowly for the second straight game and trailed 61-53 at halftime.
Kostas Papanikolaou’s 3-pointer to start the second half extended Denver’s lead to 11 points, but Westbrook and Durant fueled a 20-9 run that pulled Oklahoma City even at 73-all with 5:07 left in the third quarter.
Randy Foye gave the Nuggets their last lead at 97-96 with 8:13 left. Will Barton scored 19 points and Joffrey Lauvergne added 18 for Denver.
Quarter by quarter
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FINAL SCORE
Oklahoma City Thunder 32 21 38 31 122
Denver Nuggets 31 30 29 22 112
McCollum scores 35 as Trail Blazers beat Kings 98-94
SACRAMENTO: Overshadowed the last two years when he played behind a pair of seasoned guards, CJ McCollum has blossomed into a rising star for the Portland Trail Blazers.
McCollum had 35 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Blazers to a 98-94 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
No Blazers player in the past 29 years had put up numbers similar to McCollum’s near triple-double. Clyde Drexler had at least 34 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists on five occasions.
A shooting guard most of the season, McCallum has moved over to the point the past four games in the absence of injured All-Star Damian Lillard. McCollum did a little of everything against the Kings, making 14 of 28 shots, directing the offense and also picking up four steals and a block.
McCallum entered the game averaging 20 points and was shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point territory. His 35 points were two short of his career high.
The Blazers outscored Sacramento 18-14 in the fourth quarter to claim their second straight victory. They were coming off a convincing 105-76 win Saturday over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
DeMarcus Cousins had 36 points and six rebounds for the Kings. Omri Casspi had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo finished with nine points and 15 assists. But Rondo also committed eight of the Kings’ 23 turnovers that led to 28 Portland points.
Karl was denied his 1,155th victory, which would have tied him with Phil Jackson for fifth place on the career list.
Leonard made four 3-pointers and had 16 points and 11 rebounds. He also played tough defense on Cousins in the fourth quarter with starting center Mason Plumlee on the bench with five fouls. Maurice Harkless added 13 points.
McCollum got a rebound and scored despite the presence of Cousins, putting the Blazers ahead by four points. McCollum followed with a midrange jumper to put the Blazers ahead 93-87 with 1:27 left.
Cousins cut the lead to 95-92 with a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining. The Blazers made three free throws in the final 20 seconds to preserve the win and snap a five-game road losing streak.
The Kings missed 19 of 22 shots in the fourth quarter and had five turnovers.
Quarter by quarter
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FINAL SCORE
Portland Trailblazers 29 20 31 18 98
Sacramento Kings 30 21 29 14 94
Results: Memphis Grizzlies 112 beat Los Angeles Lakers 96, Boston Celtics 100 beat New York Knicks 91, Oklahoma City Thunder 122 beat Denver Nuggets 112, Portland Trailblazers 98 beat Sacramento Kings 94
Live on Sony Six on December 29, 2015:
Cleveland Cavaliers v/s Denver Nuggets 6:30 Am