OKAHOMA CITY (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 39 points, Aaron Gordon added 30 and Bruce Brown had a triple assist to help the exhausted Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 131-126 in overtime on Wednesday night.
Brown had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
“He’s a winner. Those are the guys you want on your team. Some guys are in the trenches with you, some guys have one foot in, one foot in. Bruce is in every way,” Nuggets point guard Mike Malone said. “He’s a guy as he leaves his heart there every night. Ct 17, 13 and 10 quatrains. That’s a pretty impressive line up in a 45-minute game.”
Playing primarily without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., Jokic took it upon himself to dominate the opening period, hitting all five of his shots and scoring 14 points as the Nuggets took a 17-point lead into the second.
But Isiah Joe came off the Thunder’s bench to hit four three-pointers and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points in the second quarter as Oklahoma City put up 42 points and pulled within six at halftime. Alexander finished with 11 points with 31 assists. Joe hit 7 of 10 3s in the game to finish with 21 points.
Lu Dort made back-to-back 3s and rookie Jalen Williams also made a long shot to give Oklahoma City its first lead, 75-72, three minutes into the second half. The Thunder outscored the Nuggets 35-14 in the 13th period.
But Jokic hit Gordon with a no-hope pass for a layup in the final minute to tie the game and the team couldn’t score on their final possession, taking the game to overtime. Denver scored the first five points of the extra period.
“Should we go down to the 15th quarter? That’s how they do it,” said Malone. “OKC makes a habit of that. They’ve come back from big deficits a lot of the time and tonight we were able to flip the script.”
“I gave Nicole a break at the end of the third quarter at about the forty-ninth minute and he played the rest of the way. I played him for 64 minutes in a game once, you don’t think athletic people, but he’s like a secretarial man. The day can run.
Nuggets: Porter. They missed the game with a left heel injury, while Murray was held to rest. Bones Hyland, Ish Smith, Jeff Green and Payton Watson were already so dominant, Denver only played ten players in uniform and only nine, as DeAndre Jordon never left the bench.
Thunder: Aleksej Pokusevski returned to the starting lineup after missing Monday’s game at the Knicks with an ankle injury. Mike Muscala was out of uniform after suffering a broken toe Monday against the Knicks.
Nuggets: At the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday nights.
Thunder: Host Chicago on Friday night.
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