December 28, 2015 / 4:07 AM / in 2 years

Kanter helps Thunder take care of Nuggets

Dec 27, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) and Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) celebrate after a play agains tth Denver Nuggets during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) - Enes Kanter came off the bench to score 21 points, grab eight rebounds and totally frustrate the Nugget’s coaching staff as he helped the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 122-112 victory on Sunday.

“You can’t let Kanter, who just manhandled us, come off the bench and get 21 and 8 and five offensive rebounds,” Denver coach Michael Malone said.

“Literally, I think Kanter was the MVP tonight. He dominated us. Every time we play this team he dominates us. We just have to get in the weight room and get a little stronger.”

Russell Westbrook scored 30 points on 11 of 17 shooting. He also collected 12 assists and nine rebounds.

Forward Kevin Durant added 26 points and 10 assists. Forward Serge Ibaka scored 19 points as the Thunder improved to 21-10.

Forward Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Will Barton came off the bench to score 19 points while center Joffrey Lauvergne collected 18 points.

“I do think we’re capable of being better,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.

“I think we’ve shown that. I think the concentration, the focus and just the will to defend at the level I think we’re capable of defending has to be an area we continue to grow and get better at.”

Oklahoma City found themselves getting off to a slow start for the second successive game, as they were unable to contain Faried, who had 10 points and three offensive rebounds in the game’s first six minutes.

The Nuggets also attempted to make Durant a non-factor by double teaming him each time he touched the ball near the paint. He was forced to pass the ball or take bad shots.

Westbrook and Ibaka picked up the slack as they accounted for 28 first-half points, even though they still trailed 61-53 at halftime.

Durant finally figured out the Denver defense in the third quarter as he scored 12 points to give the Thunder a one-point advantage heading into the fourth.

“You can game plan all you want,” Malone said.

”Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the world. Russell Westbrook is one of the top guards in the world.

“They took it to another level.”

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