Shorthanded Nuggets see long win streak finally end, thanks to free throws
The Denver Nuggets had won 16 straight at home, nine games in a row overall but that’s over thanks to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
OKC came to Ball Arena on Sunday, beating the hot Nuggets 101-99. Denver missed more free throws (18) than the Thunder shot (16.) Denver also got out-glassed by eight. It was a nigh without Nikola Jokic as he sat for the second-straight game with a left hamstring injury, while Michael Porter Jr. also didn’t appear due to personal reasons.
Zeke Nnaji started in place of Jokic again, recording the first double-double of his NBA career. DeAndre Jordan didn’t play, leading to Jeff Green playing a small center role in his second game back from a month out. Nnaji hit two threes and two clutch free throws. But it was his frontcourt mate and possible All-Star Aaron Gordon’s shooting that really hurt Denver. He went 4-for-15 from the field and 6-of-13 from the line, also getting a double-double.
Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 26 but couldn’t match his fellow Canadian and Kentucky grad Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who hit the game-winner and score 34 points. Murray’s response fell short as the Nuggets fell short.
Bones Hyland was held scoreless in the game, the young guard has recently dealt with a hand injury.
The Nuggets start a tough road three-game trip on Tuesday against all playoff teams. They’ll have a back-to-back in New Orleans than in Milwaukee followed by a Saturday afternoon game in Philadelphia. The Nuggets are back home on the 31st for a three-game homestand.
With a second-straight Memphis loss, Denver remains 1.5 games up on the Grizzlies for the best record in the west.