DENVER (AP) —hit a game-winning 8-foot jumper with 9.2 seconds remaining and finished with 34 points as the snapped Denver’s nine-game winning streak and beat the Nuggets 101-99 on Sunday night.
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After Denver’s Zeke Nnaji made two free throws to tie the game at 99 with 30 seconds remaining, Gilgeous-Alexander pulled the ball out of a timeout and hit the midrange jumper to give the Thunder the lead. the nuggetshe missed a 14-foot flyaway in the final seconds.
“He has some poise in those situations,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said of Gilgeous-Alexander. “The game slows down for him. He has great confidence and is always at his pace, even in the most pressured situations.”
Oklahoma City’s win ended the Nuggets’ 16-game home winning streak, the franchise’s longest streak in 10 years.
Josh Giddey had 18 points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Thunder, who earned their seventh win in nine games.
Denver center Nikola Jokic missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring. The two-time reigning NBA MVP had recorded a triple-double in five of his last six games. Nuggets interim head coach David Adelman said he expects Jokic’s return “is going to be very soon.”
“I think it’s a lot easier to go from one to five with us,” Adelman said. “When Nikola is on the court, it’s virtually impossible to do that and it’s virtually impossible to zone out. They did those two things and they’re smart things to do.”
Forward Michael Porter Jr. also missed the game for “personal reasons,” leaving Denver without two of its four leading scorers. Porter’s younger brother, Coban, a guard sophomore at the University of Denver, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving after being involved in a fatal crash.
Without Jokic and Porter, Murray took on much of the offensive load, finishing with 26 points and a team-high nine assists in two nights recording the first triple-double of his career.
“They doubled me up,” Murray said. “We expected that. We knew from what we went through on the tours what they would likely do. We prepare for it. We got what we wanted. We don’t end like you are used to seeing us end. That depends on us. That hurts, knowing that we did everything we could and we didn’t get over the bump.”
Denver made 51.5% of its free throws, losing valuable points in a narrow loss. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City shot 87.5% from the line, with Gilgeous-Alexander going 7-for-8.
Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered averaging 30.6 points, shot 13 of 21 from the field.
“It feels good,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “We’ve worked a lot, a lot of guys have been in the team for a while, and we try to enjoy the wins as much as possible and not take them for granted. When we see guys make a play at the end of the game, the closest ones are the most fun, the emotions are a little higher and it feels a little better.
Nuggets: G Bones Hyland didn’t score in 11 minutes after missing the second half of Denver’s 134-11 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday with a sprained left finger. … F Vlatko Cancar was scoreless in 10 minutes after missing Friday’s game with a non-COVID illness.
Thunder: Oklahoma City had lost all three of its previous meetings against the Nuggets this season. … F Kenrich Williams had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Thunder: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
Nuggets: In New Orleans on Tuesday.
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