OKC lets Denver steal one away in 97-95 loss

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Asher Low
·2 min read
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It felt like Groundhog Day for Thunder fans in the Mile High. Yet again, the young OKC starters failed to complete one of the western conference’s toughest tests. In a game that the Thunder (10-15) dominated from nearly start to finish, it was the finish from Denver (14-11) that made the difference as the Nuggets came away with a 97-95 win.

Playing without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the second consecutive night due to a left knee sprain, OKC’s starters came out firing with the bench unit being led by Justin Jackson’s 20 points. It was a defensive first half where the Thunder controlled everybody in a Nuggets uniform not named Nikola Jokic. The Joker had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 dimes at the half, but wasn’t getting the help from Jamal Murray and crew.

Credit should go to OKC’s perimeter defense, as Lou Dort and Hamidou Diallo locked down to give the Thunder a 53-40 lead after two quarters.

The third quarter saw a number of traded baskets as Jackson and Murray led the way offensively, but at the end of the period one of the strangest plays you will ever see helped swing momentum in Denver’s favor. Murray launched a prayer before the buzzer and Diallo inexplicably tapped it while it was in the cylinder. The shot wasn’t going in originally, but the goaltend cut the OKC lead to nine.

The Thunder responded well after Denver cut it two midway through the fourth quarter. Diallo and Dort continued to lead the way as they gave OKC an 89-81 lead with just under five minutes to play. That’s when the same movie we saw in Los Angeles played out in Denver. There was once again no happy ending.

OKC couldn’t find offense without Gilgeous-Alexander out there, and the Nuggets slowly put together a 12-0 run over the final four minutes to steal one from the Thunder. Will Barton caught fire through the final few minutes and by the time you looked up the Thunder were down 93-89 with under a minute to play.

The Nuggets sealed the game at the line as the young Thunder once again failed to hold a lead. Just 16 fourth quarter points sealed the fate for OKC who fell for the third straight game.

Up next for OKC is Milwaukee and the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on Sunday.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Oklahoma City
+220+6.5O 224.5
Dallas
-278-6.5U 224.5