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Nuggets-Thunder Grades: The shot of the year

Harrison Wind Avatar
February 2, 2018

The Denver Nuggets topped the Oklahoma City Thunder 127-124 Thursday night at Pepsi Center in one of the more entertaining games of the season. Four Nuggets players scored at least 15 points and Jamal Murray led the way with a team-high 33.

Here’s how each Nuggets player performed.

***Jamal Murray (A+) – Murray gets the Player of the Game honors for his 33-point outing. He was electric in the first half and scored 18 points over the game’s first two quarters, went quiet in the third but tallied 10 more in the fourth. Those 10 points came during a personal 10-0 run from Murray late in the game when baskets were hard to come by. The Nuggets rode Murray’s offense to win. His backcourt mate put Denver over the top.

Gary Harris (A) – If you’re Denver, who do you want taking a three with the game on the line? It’s probably Harris, the ultra-reliable, steady, level-headed two guard who’s been the team’s best and most consistent shooter this season. Harris finished the night with 25 points, went 5-9 from distance and capped his performance with the shot of the Nuggets’ season so far.

Will Barton (B) – Barton had an efficient game on the offensive end, shot 6-11 from the field and hit three of his seven attempts from distance. The success that Murray, Harris and Nikola Jokic had on offensive allowed Barton to fit in within the realms of the Nuggets’ attack more than he has as of late. That’s when he’s at his best.

Wilson Chandler (B) – Chandler got the start after registering a DNP-CD in San Antonio because of the Thunder’s small ball lineups and the success the Nuggets have had against Oklahoma City in the past with Chandler at power forward. He didn’t stand out on the offensive end — and Denver didn’t need him to. Chandler played great defense on Carmelo Anthony and limited him to 10 points on the night and came up with a big (illegal) screen on the game’s final play (which wasn’t called) when he bulldozed his defender and cleared a path for Harris to get free.

Nikola Jokic (A) – Jokic registered a historic stat line of 29 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists that no center has recorded in the past 20 years, got another triple-double, was effective on the offensive end all night and yet, was still upstaged by Harris and Murray. That’s just how Joker would prefer things, though. He also logged 37 minutes — one of his highest totals of the year. A real gutsy performance from him.

Torrey Craig (A-) – After slumping in early January, Craig has really turned it around as of late. He played well against the Thunder, scored seven points in 22 minutes and was another body Nuggets coach Michael Malone could throw Russell Westbrook’s way.

Trey Lyles (B-) – Lyles struggled on offense, as did most of Denver’s bench and shot just 1-7 from the field. He did register three blocks.

Emmanuel Mudiay (B) – Mudiay has shown some flashes over the past two weeks of the prospect many thought he could be. But against the Thunder it was two steps forward, then two steps back. Mudiay would finish a tough drive or make the smart play in the open court, but then turn the ball over on the game’s next possession. He’s still working on getting more consistent in that regard.

Kenneth Faried (B) – Faried continues to drift in and out of Malone’s rotation and it’s tough for him to establish much of a rhythm when he gets in games. He had a few moments against the Thunder but his role now is a wildcard that Denver can throw out there when they need to shake things up and inject some energy into the game flow.

*** denotes Player of the Game

The Nuggets host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

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