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Thunder Pull Away, Hold On Late to Win Preseason Finale

The Oklahoma City Thunder used big runs in the first quarter and fourth quarter to first establish a big lead, then pull  away from the Denver Nuggets to win their preseason finale 96-86 on Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

OKC went on an 18-3 run in the first quarter, powered by a strong quarter from Russell Westbrook, who finished with 20 points on 9 of 13 shooting, and also dished out seven assists.

The Thunder led by 10 at halftime, 49-39, then went on an 11-0 run to start the third quarter to build a 21-point lead.

Denver roared back to cut OKC’s lead to just one at 76-75, but the Thunder responded with a 15-2 run, led by 12 points from Paul George in the fourth quarter.

George finished with 19 points and hit five of OKC’s 15 made 3-pointers, plus grabbed 11 rebounds.

Carmelo Anthony had 16 points and Josh Huestis added 15 points off the bench, hitting four 3-pointers.

The Thunder weren’t quite at full strength, with Patrick Patterson still sitting out as he recovers from knee surgery, and Raymond Felton out after spraining his wrist last Sunday vs. Melbourne United.

The Thunder won their last three preseason games to finish 3-1.

OKC opens the regular season October 19 at home against the New York Knicks at 7:00 pm at Chesapeake Arena.