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NBA Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder Edge Closer To No. 1 Seed in West With Win Over Denver Nuggets

OKC Kevin Durant

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder are the No. 2 seed in the NBA’s Western Conference, but now they are just two games behind the first-place San Antonio Spurs after defeating the Denver Nuggets 117-96.

The game looked to be over in the first quarter when the Thunder led 41-24. After the disastrous first quarter for Denver, the Nuggets did a good job staying with OKC for the remainder of the game to limit the damage, but they couldn’t stop the scoring of Kevin Durant, who had 27 points, and Caron Butler, who had 23 points.

At this point in the season, every game starts to become crucial for the Thunder as they try to edge their way closer to the No. 1 spot and the easy first-round matchup in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. With injuries leading to a disappointing performance last season, Oklahoma City will be hungry to show that they can finally win an NBA Championship.

OKC is one of the clear favorites to knock LeBron James and the Miami Heat from their perch as back-to-back winners of NBA Championships, so cohesive wins like the one against Denver are good in the long run for this talented team. The Thunder may sit at the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference of the NBA, but, due to the outstanding play of Durant, Oklahoma City is clearly the team to beat in the West and will be for the remainder of the season.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.