Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 34 points, including a go-ahead bucket with 9.2 seconds left, and the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder beat the short-handed Denver Nuggets, 101-99, on Sunday, January 22 (Monday, January 23, Manila time).
Josh Giddey had 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Kenrich Williams scored 11 points for Oklahoma City, which ended the Nuggets’ nine-game winning streak and 16-game home winning streak.
Jamal Murray scored 26 points and added 9 assists, Aaron Gordon had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Zeke Nnaji had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Denver. Bruce Brown added 14 points, Jeff Green chipped in 12, and Christian Braun and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each had 10.
The Nuggets played without two starters and head coach Michael Malone.
Two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic sat out his second straight game with left hamstring tightness and Michael Porter Jr. was out for personal reasons. Malone missed his fourth straight game while in the league’s health and safety protocol. Assistant David Adelman continued to serve as acting head coach.
The Thunder led by as many as 11 in the first half, but a three-pointer by Brown late in the second quarter got Denver within 52-47 at intermission.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 12 points in the final 6:30 of the third quarter to give Oklahoma City an 81-74 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
It was 94-89 after Brown made a layup, but he missed a free throw, and Nnaji missed a pair from the line. Gilgeous-Alexander hit a shot and Nnaji made a corner three-pointer to cut the deficit to 96-92 with 4:08 left.
After the teams traded empty possessions, Gordon and Nnaji each missed 2 free throws, the Thunder missed twice on their next possession, and Gordon’s layup rolled off the rim to keep it a four-point game.
Giddey missed a 21-footer, and Murray’s three-pointer cut the deficit to 96-95.
Williams answered with a three-pointer, Gordon hit a layup with 1:08 left, and Giddey missed a short jumper. Nnaji was fouled on an offensive rebound and hit 2 free throws to tie it at 99-all with 30.2 seconds left.
Gilgeous-Alexander hit a bank shot with 9.2 seconds left to give the Thunder the lead again and Murray missed a 14-footer at the buzzer. – Rappler.com