Recap: Denver Nuggets drop one to Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets started the game with the Oklahoma City Thunder slow and were quickly trailing 6-0. The starters were working on a comeback, but, due to some ice-cold shooting from outside, they were struggling to cut the deficit. However, when Denver’s second unit came in, they started chipping away. Denver shot just 2-of-8 from 3-point range in the first quarter, but they were content to be tied at 24 thanks to a big run in the final minute of the period.

In the second quarter, the second unit started the quarter right where they left off in the first period with 17 points in the first five minutes. However, once the starters for Denver returned to the game, they just couldn’t get anything rolling, and they allowed the Thunder to crawl all the way back, and they were leading 57-55 at the half after leading by as many as 11 at one point.

In the first half, Jokic was 6-of-8 with 14 points. The other four starters combined for 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting, if you wanted an idea of why the team’s starters were struggling so much. While the Nuggets couldn’t buy a bucket from 3-point range, the Thunder were cruising with a 9-of-18 mark from downtown midway through the third quarter. As things had gone all game long, players on the second unit entered the game, and they quickly pushed Denver back into shouting distance to make it a 3-point game. A four-point play by Bryn Forbes gave Denver the lead back with just under 3:00 remaining in the quarter. Some hot shooting by the Thunder to end the period had them leading 86-79 heading into the final period due in large part to their 52.2 percent mark from 3-point range compared to the 23.5 percent mark from Denver.

The Nuggets’ second unit started the fourth quarter strong, and they weren’t going to let Denver go down without a fight if they could help it with the way that Forbes and Bones Hyland were shooting the ball. Unfortunately for those two, the Denver starters weren’t shooting at the same level. The Denver starters were a combined 0-of-23 from 3-point range with 2:00 remaining in the game with the Nuggets trailing by eight. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit what was likely the dagger 3-pointer with around 1:15 remaining, and the Nuggets would fall and lose their six-game winning streak by a score of 119-107.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 22

Assists: Will Barton – 5

Rebounds: Jokic – 15

Player of the Game: Bryn Forbes – 18 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 5-of-12 field goal, 5-of-11 3-point, 3-of-4 free throw

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