Game 56 Recap: Thunder (34-22) def. Nuggets (38-18) 113-101
Official Box Score link
The “Best Win of the Season” Leaderboard has a new game freshly etched into the top spot.
Move over, overtime win against Philadelphia. Step down, beatdown in Utah. My condolences, cathartic Clippers win. It’s a wrap, Raptors road victory. Houston twin wins, both Russ’s OKC homecoming and the Rockets on the road show, you’ve been knocked from atop the perch.
The Nuggets own the second best record in the Western Conference.
Enter Chris Paul.
The Nuggets had defeated the Thunder 7 straight times.
Steven Adams would like a word.
The Nuggets were a perfect 9-0 against fellow Northwest Division foes.
Is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander a joke to you?
In front of a nationally televised ESPN audience, the Thunder continued to show why they’re the one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season. This Denver dismantling included all the greatest hits that have come to define this OKC squad.
CP3 was the best player on the court for either team, scoring 29 points on 11 of 17 shooting. Once again, the league’s most clutch player dominated crunch time. Paul scored 9 points in the final 5:14 of the game.
As they have time and again, the Thunder played a close game that caused OKC fans to lose their fingernails and come down to the closing minutes. Once there, the three point guard death lineup put the Mortal Kombatesque finishing moves on the Nuggets.
OKC spread the wealth, as seven players scored in double digits for the 5th time this season, a Thunder record. If anyone needed tangible statistical evidence that this is the most pass happy and egoless team in Thunder history, there’s your proof.
Besides Clutch Paul, the standouts were Adams with 19 points and 17 rebounds and SGA notching a near triple double with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. And Lu Dort earned the praise and admiration of ESPN analyst Doris Burke with 11 points, 3 steals, and an unlimited supply of energy, hustle and heart.
The Thunder will have opportunities to trump this win with upcoming games against the Bucks, Lakers and whoever they end up playing in the postseason.
But for now, this impressive Nuggets knockoff is the King of the Rocky Mountain.
- The Thunder gain a full game on the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers tonight. OKC remains tied with Dallas for the 6 seed but is now 6 games ahead of Memphis for the 7 seed and 9.5 games ahead of Portland and San Antonio for the 8 seed.
- After a four game stretch in which they barely escaped two terrible teams in the Pistons and Cavaliers and lost to the Spurs and Celtics at home, the Thunder bounced back nicely with a quality win on the road in New Orleans before the break and this massive Nuggets win out of the break.
- Jerami Grant OKC ovation on a scale of Kevin Durant to Russell Westbrook: a solid Serge Ibaka.
- Super Bowl winning quarterback Blake Bell was in The Peake tonight.
- Chris committed two Paul on Paul crimes against Millsap tonight. One to end the first half and another that may have been the game’s final dagger.
- This Thunder team remains the same post-All Star Break as they were before: stressing OKC fans out all the way to the final moments of the 4th quarter. In a fun and entertaining way that usually results in a win, but heart palpitations are included.
- Love seeing the Shai and Steven Adams connection developing a bit this game. Shai drove and looked to Adams several times in the second half and it resulted in points almost every time.
- Undrafted 2 way rookie Lu Dort had a killer game on both sides of the ball on a nationally televised stage. By the end of the game, the ESPN commentators had become full blown Dort fangirls.
- Another benefit of tonight’s win: the Nuggets’ 1st round draft pick that OKC received in the Grant trade becomes better with each Denver loss.
- Up next: the Spurs in OKC on Sunday night.