A sellout crowd of 18,203 within the Oklahoma City Thunder Arena watched survive hot shooting too early from a balanced Denver attack put the visitors ahead from 13 in the first quarter.
Durant and water quality both finished with career highs of play-offs in points.
Durant had 41 points and nine Rebounds. Water quality had 31 points, seven rebounds and six support and conversion of a clutch free throw with 3.6 seconds left.
Durant had 25 second half point, while water quality scored 21 in the first half.
Denver was led by Center Nene, who had 22 points and eight recovery despite suffering a bruised right knee and left the game early in the third quarter. Danilo Gallinari added 18 points. Shakhtar meiker Raymond Felton had 12 points and eight supports disabling of the bench. Kenyon Martin had 10 points, seven rebounds and five supports.
Game 2 will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. in OKC and covered television TNT and Fox Sports Oklahoma.
The Lakers made their first eight shots and 15 of the 21 first.
Thunder Lodge 33-24 after the first quarter, and it was the most serious problem was that Denver outscored 12-0 – free throw line.
OKC made its first nine shots of the second quarter to pull within 48-45 on Nick Collison's dunk midway through the period.
The Lakers extended their lead again, but triggered by the tremendous all-around play of water quality, run the Thunder ended the half with a 10-2 to fell 60-59 at intermission.
OKC took its first lead of the game in the third quarter and was triggered by Durant, who had 14 points and went 3 for 3 from 3-point range during the period.
Denver fought back from an eight-point fourth quarter deficit to regain the lead in a contest that featured nine ties and nine lead changes.