Published: March 24, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY - Kevin Durant had 27 points and eight assists to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Denver Nuggets 117-96 on Monday night.
Caron Butler scored 23 points, his highest total since the Thunder added him right after the trade deadline. Palmer High School grad Reggie Jackson had 16 points and a career-high 11 assists, and Serge Ibaka added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Thunder, who won their fourth straight.
Durant, who was coming off a 51-point game against Toronto on Friday, is averaging 37 points during the winning streak. The Thunder sat point guard Russell Westbrook so he could rest his surgically repaired right knee.
Ty Lawson scored 25 points for the Nuggets, who had won three of four. The Thunder held Denver to 39 percent shooting.
Westbrook's knee took a hit from Toronto guard Kyle Lowry on Friday, but tests showed no further damage was done. The Thunder have been resting Westbrook for one game of back-to-backs. Oklahoma City plays at Dallas on Tuesday.
The Thunder matched their highest points total in a quarter this season, making six 3-pointers in the first to take a 41-24 lead.
Oklahoma City kept the pressure on and led 72-58 at halftime. The Thunder shot 60 percent from the field and had their highest points total in any half this season. Durant had 22 points and six assists in the first half while Ibaka scored 15. Only one Thunder player shot worse than 50 percent in the first half.
Oklahoma City made just six of 18 shots in the third quarter, but the Nuggets were an even worse 3-for-16, so the Thunder actually extended their lead to 90-73 by the end of the period. Oklahoma City's largest lead in the fourth quarter was 22 points.
Thunder C Kendrick Perkins (left groin strain) and G Thabo Sefolosha (left calf strain) are improving, but still out. Both have missed about a month. ... Durant has scored 25 or more points in 35 consecutive games, the longest streak since Michael Jordan's 40 consecutive times during the 1986-87 season. ... Nuggets F Wilson Chandler (left groin strain) and F Jan Vesely (left rib cage contusion) did not play. ... Thunder C Hasheem Thabeet missed the game for personal reasons. ... Thunder G Mustafa Shakur played for the third time this season.