EditorsNote: 5th graf, change timing to 3:20; last graf, change Nugget to Nuggets
Nikola Jokic had 24 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, Jamal Murray had 19 points and nine rebounds, and the host Denver Nuggets beat Oklahoma City 109-98 on Friday night.
Juan Hernangomez had 16 points and Torrey Craig scored 15 for the Nuggets, who kept the top spot in the Western Conference with the win.
Paul George scored a game-high 32 points, Steven Adams had 26 and Russell Westbrook finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder. Oklahoma City hurt itself by going just 17 of 29 from the foul line.
Denver led by six after three quarters and increased the lead with Jokic on the bench. Nick Young, signed Monday and playing his first game for the Nuggets, drained his second 3-pointer of the night to put Denver ahead 93-84 with 7:32 left.
The lead went to 10 on Murray’s jumper but Oklahoma City chipped away. Westbrook hit a 3-pointer and George had a pair of free throws and a layup to make it 99-96 with 3:20 left. Monte Morris hit a step-back jumper and Craig’s dunk gave Denver a seven-point lead with 1:59 left.
Westbrook missed a layup and Jokic fed Hernangomez for a layup to seal it.
The teams got into a shoving match positioning for a jump ball in the final minute. Westbrook and Murray were given technicals and both coaches put in the scrubs after Murray hit two free throws for the final margin.
The Thunder, who trailed 60-52 at intermission, held Denver without a point for the first 4:19 of the third quarter but managed just five points in that stretch. Craig broke the drought with a dunk to put the Nuggets ahead 62-57.
George scored 16 points in the period, including a 3-pointer that got Oklahoma City within 66-64. The Thunder had a chance to tie or take a lead but Westbrook turned it over. The Nuggets got the lead back to 10 late in the period and led 82-76 heading into the fourth.
—Field Level Media