Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tops 30 again as Thunder edge Nuggets

February 1, 2024 4:23 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 34 points to lift the host Oklahoma City Thunder to a 105-100 win over the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets were without star Nikola Jokic, who missed the game with lower back pain.

Jokic had missed just one other game all season, Nov. 27 against the Clippers.

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With the shot clock winding down in the final minute and clinging to a one-point lead, the Thunder were scrambling.

But rookie Chet Holmgren came up with the ball at the elbow and shot a 3-pointer, burying the shot to give Oklahoma City some breathing room at 101-97.

Then the Thunder came up big on the defensive end after a timeout, forcing the Nuggets into a five-second turnover as Reggie Jackson couldn’t find a teammate on the inbounds play, giving Oklahoma City the ball back.

Holmgren finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.

Three players — Jackson, Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray — each scored 16 points to lead the Nuggets. Gordon added 13 rebounds and seven assists.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Thunder, who haven’t lost three consecutive games this season.

The Nuggets had a two-game winning streak snapped, and Oklahoma City won the season series between the teams 3-1, winning each of the last three matchups.

The Thunder were without Jalen Williams (right ankle sprain). Williams’ absence gave rookie Vasilije Micic an increased role off the bench and he scored a season-high 12 points.

The Thunder outscored Denver 14-2 over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to take a 13-point lead, and they were still up by 10 after Gilgeous-Alexander’s 3-pointer with 4:03 left.

Gilgeous-Alexander has scored at least 30 points in eight consecutive games. He netted 13 points in the fourth quarter as Oklahoma City outscored the Nuggets 32-28.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished 12 of 13 at the free-throw line.

Denver led by 13 early, as the Thunder missed six consecutive shots during the Nuggets’ 13-0 run late in the first quarter.

Oklahoma City steadily cut into the lead throughout the second, trailing by four at the break.

Denver led by seven late in the third, before the Thunder closed with a 10-2 run to take a 73-72 lead entering the fourth.