Denver Nuggets: Thunder recap

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MARCH 30: Juan Hernangomez
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MARCH 30: Juan Hernangomez /

The Denver Nuggets pulled out a close one in Oklahoma City, taking out the Thunder 126-125 in OT.

The game kept the Denver Nuggets dim playoff hopes alive.  With six remaining games, the Nuggets are a game-and-a-half behind both Utah and New Orleans.  Utah won tonight, New Orleans lost.  Four of the Nuggets remaining six games are at home.  Two are against Minnesota who the Nuggets trails by 2.5 games.

Leading the way for the Nuggets was Paul Millsap with 36 points (on 72% shooting) and nine rebounds.  Drawing the matchup with Carmelo Anthony, Millsap struggled, defensively, letting ‘Melo hit for 12 of his 23 points in the first quarter.  Millsap recovered and held Anthony to 11 for the rest of the game.  Millsap looked as close to what we had seen in November in both his comfort in the offense and his confidence.

For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook led the way with 33 points, nine rebounds and 13 assists. He was his usual whirlwind, leading a fourth quarter Thunder charge.

Denver built a 15 point lead to open the fourth quarter on smart, consistent play.

They opened the fourth by allowing Oklahoma City to go on a 25-7 run.  Similar to collapses the Nuggets have had throughout this turbulent season, it looked as if they were destined for their 36th loss and probable nail-in-the-coffin for playoff hopes.

With Wilson Chandler in the locker room after taking a brutal elbow to the nose from Westbrook, the Nuggets got heroics from unlikely sources:

Torrey Craig had a huge corner three-point shot.  Will Barton, capped an up-and-down quarter that could be a microcosm of his season with a spinning, driving lay-up to tie the game.

A huge Mason Plumlee block sent the game to overtime, tied at 114.

In OT, the Nuggets spotted the Thunder the first few points before rallying. They ultimately took the chance to foul Paul George to prevent the Thunder from shooting a three.  A lane violation is what ensued.

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Barton sealed the game with two free throws and the Nuggets have lived to fight another day.