The All-Star break is over which means we are finally ready for the last stretch of the season. The Thunder had a 33-22 record going into Friday night, but this team isn’t satisfied yet. Going for win number 34 was no easy task, as the Thunder had lost seven straight games to the Nuggets. With the post-season in mind, OKC is looking to close out the season on a high note. Getting a win over a top team in the conference is the perfect way to get the train rolling.
Oklahoma City opened up the game shooting fairly well. No one was particularly showing out on offense, but everyone was doing their part. The Thunder got a huge boost off the bench from Dennis Schröder and Nerlens Noel. The two combined for 13 points on 5-6 shooting. The Thunder held a 27-17 lead after the first twelve minutes.
The Nuggets made a point to get the ball inside the paint at the start of the second quarter. Their ability to penetrate the paint quickly got OKC into foul trouble. At the 6:48 mark, Nerlens Noel already had 4 fouls. Nikola Jokic was killing the Thunder with 19 points on 6-7 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. The Thunder won the minutes that Jokic wasn’t on the floor, but when he was in the game he was the difference maker.
Both teams came out shooting in the second half, and got off to a much quicker start than the beginning of the game. The biggest story of the third quarter was Dennis Schröder turning his ankle. He came out of the game for a bit, but later returned and played with a slight limp. The quarter was back and forth with each team going on a couple of runs, but OKC held a 78-77 lead heading into the final twelve minutes.
The Thunder came out and absolutely dominated the fourth quarter. Chris Paul hit multiple clutch shots, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had some of his best moments of the game. The Nuggets essentially had no answer to the Thunder who outscored them 35-24 in the quarter. The first three quarter were some of the closest this team has played this season. Running away with this game in the fourth shows just how good this team can be as we approach the post-season.
Thunder Player Of The Game
Chris Paul has been the most clutch player in the fourth quarter in the NBA this season. Friday night against the Nuggets he continued to dominate by scoring 9 points in the final quarter.
He knocked down some timely shots in this win, and for that he earns player of the game. CP3 didn’t score at all in the first quarter of the game, but he finished with 29 points on 11-17 shooting.
The Thunder will be home again on Sunday when they take on the San Antonio Spurs at 6:00 PM CST. The game will be televised on FSOK, and broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
OKC lost at home to San Antonio two games before the All-Star break. The Thunder did not shoot well in that matchup, so I’d expect this one to have a different turnout.
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