Recap: Denver Nuggets let one slip to Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets started the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with some quick points, but they cooled off in a hurry as the two sides struggled to put up points over the next several minutes. The two teams were tied at 16 with 4:30 remaining in the period as they had continued trading basket. Over the final few minutes of the quarter, the Thunder were starting to build a lead with Denver struggling to knock down shots and were leading 23-18 with 1:42 left in the first quarter. Coming out of a timeout, that Thunder run was not letting up as they were on a 19-4 run. Denver would go into the quarter break trailing 28-18 following a 10-0 Thunder run to end the quarter.

Denver started the second quarter hot, as they went on a 7-1 run over the first two minutes of the period to get back within four. After just 3:30 had come off of the clock, Denver was within one thanks to some stellar play by their bench. Following Denver getting within one, they promptly gave up a nine-point run over the next three minutes, and they were trailing by 10 again with 6:21 left in the first half. Coming out of a timeout, Nikola Jokic got to the basket to end the run, but Darius Bazley immediately made a 3-pointer from the corner to stretch the lead to 11. Whenever Denver was scoring, they were immediately undoing their work on defense by giving up a basket. Denver got themselves with in five with a few minutes left in the quarter, but they gave up another Thunder run and went into the half trailing 60-52.

After starting the third quarter with a couple of quick buckets, the Nuggets went cold on both ends of the floor. The Thunder were making just about everything they were putting up, and Denver couldn’t score anything to match them. They went on a small run in the middle of the quarter, but OKC was keeping them at bay and leading by 15. Denver gave up a lazy offensive rebound, and the Thunder stretched their lead with a big triple to make it a 16-point game. The Thunder continued to extend their run in the final minutes of the third quarter, and they were trailing by 22 heading into the fourth quarter by a score of 88-66.

After starting the quarter slow, the Nuggets went on an 11-0 run over the next few minutes to cut into the Thunder lead significantly to make it 77-89. Denver had cut the lead to 10 to make it 83-93 with just under six minutes remaining. Denver cut the game to nine, and Michael Malone was electing to go with the bench unit to close the game, which meant that the second unit was going to be spending a lot of time on the floor tonight. Over the final minutes of the quarter, the Nuggets’ bench unit appeared to be running out of steam, which would make sense as they had been on the floor for roughly 16 straight minutes of game time. The Thunder were on an 11-6 run, and Denver was trailing by 15 with just over 1:40 remaining in the game. Denver was 15-of-26 on the night from the charity stripe, and that certainly didn’t help them keep the game close. The final score of 94-108 made the game look a lot closer than it really was. Denver dropped this game, and they fell to 15-15 overall on the season.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 13

Assists: Facundo Campazzo – 6

Rebounds: JaMychal Green & Jokic – 7

Player of the Game: Austin Rivers – 12 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 4-of-8 field goal, 3-of-4 3-point, 2-of-4 free throw

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