Westbrook stars as Thunder rout Nuggets


Posted at Jan 17 2013 05:35 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2013 04:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Oklahoma City Thunder kept their hold on the best record in the NBA after routing the visiting Denver Nuggets, 117-97.

With point guard Russell Westbrook scoring 16 points in the opening frame alone, the Thunder raced off to a 34-18 first-quarter lead and never looked back.

"We came out with great energy at the start and set the tone with our defense, then that allows us to play better offense," Thunder coach Scott Brooks told NBA.com.

"I thought our ball pressure was really good. They didn't see a lot of openings and when they did (forward) Serge (Ibaka) blocked a lot of shots," he added.

Westbrook finished with a game-high 32 points, while All-Star forward Kevin Durant had a modest 20 points to go along with five steals.

It was the fifth straight victory for the Thunder, who improved their record to 31-8. They are one game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the best record in the NBA.

The Nuggets, who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, saw their record drop to 24-17. Kosta Koufos had 16 points for Denver while JaVale McGee added 15 points off the bench.

"We didn't have a good offensive game and we didn't have a good defensive game. We didn't have a good energy game either," Denver coach George Karl rued.

"The Thunder seemed to be the hungrier team from the very beginning. We never got into our flow and our offense just wasn’t there," he added.

Oklahoma City never trailed in the game and led by as much as 28 points. -- Report from ANC.