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Recap: Jokic’s 35 points help Denver defeat OKC 113-107

The MVP found his groove tonight

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets captured a crucial win against the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight 113-107. Denver had lost four of their last five at home, but they got back on the right track tonight. Nikola Jokic came out with some intensity early and often. He scored 35 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 blocks. Denver held a significant lead for much of the contest, but OKC’s second-half surge created another close game between these two teams. The Nuggets tie the season series with the Thunder at 2-2, but more importantly with this win, they move a game ahead of Minnesota and a game and a half back on 4th place.

Although the Thunder had six players in double figures and Denver only had three, every Nugget who stepped on the court scored a point tonight. The Gordon and Barton combination finally found their groove together as Gordon scored 20 and Barton 18. The Nuggets will look to step closer to that 4th seed on Monday when they head to Charlotte to face the Hornets at 5:00 PM MT.

1st Quarter

  • Jokic located a wide-open Jeff Green for a two-handed slam, and Roby scored the first points for the Thunder with a putback layup. After a Pokusevski made shot, Jokic threw the touchdown pass to Gordon for a layup, and then two Jeff Green free throws gave the Nuggets a 7-4 lead
  • Darius Bazley drove to the rack for a nice off-hand layup, and then Nikola answered with a finger-roll. Theo Maledon scored four straight for OKC, but a Barton three and a Jeff Green layup stretched the Nugget lead to 14-10
  • Following an OKC timeout, Maledon knocked in a three and Tre Mann added a floater. Denver would counter with a Jokic hook shot, a Gordon triple, and a Morris transition layup. That expanded Denver’s lead to 21-15 until Bazley sank a corner three
  • Then Jokic scored six straight with a floater, a finger roll, and two free throws. Lindy Waters III quickly answered with an off-balance three, but the Nuggets replied with a JaMychal dunk and a Forbes three which gave Denver a 32-23 lead

Score: Jokic - 11, Maledon - 9

Scoring leaders: 32-25 Nuggets

2nd Quarter

  • Over a minute and a half went by before Krejci opened the quarter with a side-step three, but Boogie answered it with his own three. Waters III cut the lead to four with another triple which put the score at 31-25
  • Boogie then threw down a loud, one-handed dunk that awakened the crowd. Bones dropped in a deep three to extend Denver’s lead to eight, and then Pokusevski and Bones both converted two free throws
  • Waters III hit net on another triple, but Denver responded with layups from Barton and Rivers along with a Jokic hook shot for the 48-37 advantage. Gordon continued the scoring run with a put-back dunk and a layup
  • Jokic extended the lead to 54-39 with a gentle floater, but Olivier Sarr answered with a three. After multiple scoreless possessions for both teams, Barton drove to the rack for a layup
  • Another minute would go by without a score, but Jokic ended the streak with a mid-range jumper. Pokusevski and Mann added two threes within 30 seconds to end the scoring for the quarter

Score: 58-49 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic - 17, Pokusevski - 10

3rd Quarter

  • Barton introduced the quarter with a steal and a layup on the other end, but OKC replied with a Maledon three, a Mann triple, and a Roby layup. Roby continued a 17-2 scoring run with a layup, and Mann added a layup to cut the lead to two, 62-60
  • Jokic scored his 19th point with an and-one layup and Barton contributed with a driving layup. Pokusevski would answer with a pull-up mid-range, but Gordon countered by sinking a three
  • Two layups from Wiggins and Roby decreased the lead to 70-66, but Denver scored six straight with four by Jokic and a Jeff Green tip shot extended the lead back to 10. Krejci and Barton matched two’s, and then Gordon and Sarr matched baskets as well
  • After another Jokic block, Barton turned it into a three and Jokic followed with a floater that was goaltended. That gave the Nuggets a 7-0 scoring run and an 85-70 lead, but Mann extinguished the run with a running floater and two free throws

Score: 87-76 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic - 26, Pokusevski/Maledon/Mann - 12

4th Quarter

  • Bones opened the quarter with two free throws, but Aaron Wiggins scored six in a row with a three and a three-point play. Reed threw down a one-handed jam, however Pokusevski and Mann both hit threes to cut the lead to just three
  • Gordon ended a 12-2 OKC scoring run with a reverse layup, but they turned it over on the next possession for a Wiggins finger roll. Boogie then knocked in two free throws and then Maledon matched it with two free ones as well
  • Monte Morris made a floater, but Waters III countered with a three to clip the Nugget lead to 97-95. Maledon and Jokic then traded baskets, but Waters III tied it up at 99 with a dunk
  • Gordon matched it with a dunk on his end, but again the Thunder would answer with a Maledon floater. Jokic’s two free throws gave Denver the lead, but Roby and Pokusevski scored four in a row to put OKC up 105-103
  • Jokic knotted the score with a hook shot and Gordon took the lead with two free throws. Following an OKC turnover, Monte drilled a huge triple to put Denver up 110-105
  • Maledon converted both free throws, but a Jokic and-one layup sealed the game

Score: 113-107 Nuggets

Stat leaders

Points: Jokic - 35

Rebounds: Jokic - 12

Assists: Jokic - 8

Silent hero of the game: Aaron Gordon - 20 points, 9 rebounds, and a block on 8-17 shooting and 2-3 from beyond the arc