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Nikola Jokic's near triple-double lifts Nuggets past Thunder

Christian Clark Avatar
December 15, 2018

The Nuggets entered Friday’s national television matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder missing a significant amount of firepower. They were without three regular starters — Gary Harris (hip), Will Barton (hip/core) and Paul Millsap (toe) — for the third game in a row. Denver might not have had its full arsenal, but it still came out firing.

The Nuggets hung 39 first-quarter points on the Thunder and and never looked back on their way to a 109-98 win. Torrey Craig, who was 8 for 44 from 3-point land going into Friday, hit three 3-pointers in that quarter alone. Craig (15 points) provided a spark on offense and did a fine job defending Russell Westbrook once again, harassing Oklahoma City’s blur of a guard into a 5-of-15 shooting night.

Nikola Jokic had another huge game. Jokic scored 24 points on 8-for-16 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds and nine assists, narrowly missing out on a triple-double.

The Nuggets’ most recent addition also made his presence felt. Nick Young hit a pair of 3-pointers. Both times, Pepsi Center erupted. His second trey of the game increased Denver’s lead to nine points in the fourth quarter and forced Oklahoma City to take a timeout.

Monte Morris (14 points, six assists and no turnovers) was rock solid for the umpteenth time this season. He hit a stepback jumper to push Denver’s lead back to five late in the game when Oklahoma City was mounting a comeback. The Thunder threatened in the fourth quarter, thanks mostly to Paul George, who scored 26 points of his game-high 32 in the second half, but Denver never allowed them to get over the hump.

The Nuggets got to to 19-9 — 10 games over .500 for the first time this season with the win. They’re in sole possession of first place in the Western Conference despite a rash of injuries.

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