The Denver Nuggets started hot by getting Jamal Murray an easy bucket on a back cut, but they immediately gave up a 3-point shot to George Hill. It was a quiet few minutes with the two sides trading misses before Luguentz Dort converted a layup in transition. Nikola Jokic got it back with a bucket of his own, but Jamal Murray then committed a foul which Isaiah Roby converted and turned into a 3-point play.
Down 4-8, Jokic got an easy floater to fall over Roby before Dort made a triple that was keeping Denver at arm’s length. Jokic put away a big dunk before Will Barton was able to make a layup in transition to bring the Nuggets back within one. Following a turnover by the Oklahoma City Thunder, Barton knocked down a 3-point shot to give them the lead. A turnover by Murray led to an easy basket by Darius Bazley.
That's dunk number 9 on the season in case you lost count pic.twitter.com/tThfdWJniV— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 20, 2021
A bad miss by Murray gave Shai Gilgeous-Alexander a free run to the rim before Barton knocked down a triple and forced the Thunder to take a timeout. Denver turned the ball over following a make by the Thunder, but no damage was done. Following misses by both sides, Jokic got the scoring rolling again with an easy layup. Dort made his own layup to keep the score a one-point game. A foul by Jokic sent Roby to the line where he went 2-of-2.
The two sides traded misses and turnovers before Jokic willed his way to the free-throw line where he was able to regain the lead with a perfect showing. Bazley converted a layup before Jokic got a shot to go through some contact and ended up at the line where he finished off the 3-point play. Unfortunately, they gave up an easy 3-point make that gave up that lead again.
Off of a block of JaMychal Green, Dort got to the rim for a layup and forced Michael Malone to call a timeout down 26-23. Coming out of the timeout, P.J. Dozier missed an open 3-point shot, and the Thunder converted one of their own to gain a six-point lead. Off of a missed 3-point shot by Jokic, the Thunder converted a reverse layup, and they had given up 10 straight points. The two sides traded multiple misses before Jokic got a second-chance layup to go.
A foul by Facundo Campazzo sent Gilgeous-Alexander to the line where he missed both of his attempts before his miss was knocked out of bounds. Campazzo forced a turnover, and Dozier was able to knock down a big 3-point shot. With less than five seconds remaining, Dozier was fouled on a 3-point shot with a chance to tie the game at the line. He converted all three, and we were knotted at 31 heading into the second quarter.
The two sides started the second quarter slow before Isaiah Hartenstein was fouled shooting at 11:03, and he made both of his attempts to regain that lead. Green found Campazzo for a 3-point shot to further that lead to five. Denver was on a 15-0 run following a make by Green, and it led to an OKC timeout with 9:49 remaining. Out of the timeout, Hamidou Diallo grabbed an offensive rebound that turned into a make and a 3-point play at the line before makes by Dozier and Theo Maledon made it a 3-point game.
Denver forced a near-turnover by the Thunder, but they were unable to score any points off of it. Diallo drove right at Green and drew a foul before shooting 1-of-2 at the line. They traded empty possessions before Monte Morris converted a fancy reverse layup. A miss by Mike Muscala led to another transition bucket by Morris. The two sides traded bad misses before Campazzo found Morris with a between-the-legs feed on the break for an easy layup.
Following a timeout by the Thunder, each side burned a possession before Bazley knocked down the easiest 3-point shot of his life which was answered by a Paul Millsap dunk. On the other end, Hill got another triple to fall, and the Thunder were reeling Denver back in as they were now down by four. Millsap knocked down 1-of-2 free throws before the Nuggets forced a turnover before giving it right back with one of their own.
The Nuggets bailed Gilgeous-Alexander out by fouling him with less than five seconds on the shot clock. Millsap shut it down with a block, but he missed a bunny-hop layup on offense. A foul by Gary Harris sent Shai to the line where he converted both shots. When they attempted to inbound the ball, Murray fouled Dort with a shove, and the Thunder failed to make them pay by giving it right back.
On the other end, Jokic grabbed his own rebound and converted the second-chance points before Dort got a big 3-point shot to fall. Barton made a triple of his own, and Murray was able to draw a foul from Dort which sent Murray to the line where he got one free throw to go. Off of a miss by Hill, Millsap knocked down a triple, and they were leading by nine with 90 seconds to go in the half. Jokic found a wide-open Harris in the corner, and he converted the shot to give them a 12-point lead with 60 seconds remaining before a Dort triple wiped that out.
Murray went to the basket with 45 seconds to go and got the layup to fall. On the other end, the Thunder were unable to convert. Jokic grabbed a miss by Murray and put the shot away to give him 19 in the first half, and Denver led 65-52 heading into halftime. He had 19 points and eight rebounds at the half, and he was dominating the smaller Thunder frontcourt.
Denver started the first half with a steal off of the Thunder which Jokic turned into a layup off of an offensive rebound. Roby had the ball knocked away by Millsap, but the Nuggets came up empty before Millsap committed an intentional foul on a driving Dort which sent him to the line where he converted 1-of-2. The Nuggets missed a pair of shots from 3-point range, and the Thunder returned the favor.
Shai drew the third foul on Millsap, but he made just 1-of-2 at the line. After a couple of rough possessions, Harris found Millsap in the corner for a triple to take a 16-point lead. They traded misses again before Dort got inside for an easy layup. Not to be outdone, Jokic walked right to the rim for a layup which forced OKC to call another timeout down by 16. Coming out of the timeout, Harris stole it away from Shai, and Harris was rewarded with a corner three for his efforts.
Down by 19, the Thunder came up empty on an open triple, and the same happened for Denver. Roby finally stopped the run with a euro-step layup around Jokic. Barton was called for a travel, and Gilgeous-Alexander went to work for a layup around Murray. After a bad turnover by Denver, the Thunder got an easy dunk that forced a frustration timeout out of Malone up by 13. Out of the timeout, Millsap grabbed another offensive rebound and converted a layup which gave him a double-double on the night.
Denver gave up an easy bucket on the other end before Jokic found Morris for a layup. Up by 15, Barton got a mid-range jumper to fall with 4:45 remaining in the quarter. Jokic grabbed a rebound to get himself a double-double before Millsap converted another layup to stretch the lead back to 19 before a 3-point shot by the Thunder. Jokic found Millsap who found Morris in the corner for a triple of his own. Jokic hit Barton with an outlet pass who gave Harris an easy dunk with a flashy pass.
Thrill went deep in his bag of tricks! pic.twitter.com/gsTwcIGEF9— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 20, 2021
Down by 21, Gilgeous-Alexander got to the rim for a layup to stop the Nuggets’ 11-3 run before Jokic knocked down a long jumper. A miss by Jokic lead to a transition opportunity for the Thunder, but nothing came of it. With less than two minutes remaining, Barton fed Jokic for an easy layup as Denver was working to stretch their lead before SGA converted a finger-roll. Jokic hit Harris in the corner which gave him his 11th point of the night and gave the team five players in double figures on the night.
Jokic hit Morris with a pass for a layup, and Denver was racing with the clock running down in the quarter. Morris missed an open triple, and the Thunder made them pay by drawing a foul on Jokic. Mike Muscala knocked down a triple with the clock nearly out, and Denver led 97-74 heading into the fourth quarter. This game gave Jokic his 14th straight double-double to start the season.
Denver started the fourth quarter with a triple by Green, and it appeared the starters were done for the night for Denver barring a massive collapse by the second unit. SGA made 1-of-2 at the line, and the Nuggets had an empty possession on offense following an offensive foul by Hartenstein. A miss by the Thunder turned into a bully-ball layup by Green against Muscala before Hartenstein fouled Josh Hall on a make, although he missed the lone free throw.
Green attempted a huge dunk which he failed to convert, and the Thunder went coast-to-coast to make it 79-102 which forced Malone to call a timeout. Coming out of the break, Green badly missed a triple, but the Thunder bailed him out with a turnover. Morris found Dozier for a 3-point shot from the wing, but Diallo immediately answered with one of his own.
Hartenstein got to the rim for a layup, and he converted the shot through the foul before completing the 3-point play. Denver drew a charging foul on the Thunder, and they extended their lead to 28 on the other end. Denver turned the ball over which gave OKC an easy layup before Green threw the ball out of bounds right away for another turnover. Hartenstein flopped into drawing a foul on the Thunder, and the two sides were playing real sloppy trading empty possessions back and forth with 7:00 remaining.
After over a minute with no points, Green converted another 3-point shot to stretch the lead to 29 before OKC called another timeout. The benches were clearing with R.J. Hampton and Bol Bol now into the game. OKC and Denver traded misses and turnovers before a long triple by Justin Jackson got the scoring going again. Zeke Nnaji had also entered the game, and he made his presence known with a foul of Hall, who made both of his free throws.
Hampton drew a foul on Jackson, and he got himself in the scoring column with a pair of free throws. Out went Dozier, and Vlatko Čančar had entered the game. Jackson scored on another long 3-point shot. The scoring had given way, and each side was getting some buckets for their end of the bench guys including a big dunk by Bol. Markus Howard got right to the rim with a layup with 1:30 remaining, but he quickly turned it over on the next possession with an out of control drive.
Denver was back to .500 with this convincing win. They aren’t all going to be this easy, and it was important to get their starters a good bit of rest late in the game. Moving forward, the goal is to string this game into future success down the road after a convincing 119-101 win over the Thunder.
Points: Nikola Jokic - 27
Assists: Will Barton & Jokic - 6
Rebounds: Paul Millsap & Jokic - 12
Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic 27 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 12-21 field goals, 0-4 3-point, 3-3 free throws