Michael Porter Jr. scored a career-high 37 points and Denver Nuggets kept their hold on the third seed in the Western Conference on Monday by holding off the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-113, in overtime.
Porter, Jokic lead Nuggets in overtime win
Porter added 12 rebounds for a double-double and bested his previous career-high of 25 points. He went 12 of 16 from the floor, including hitting 4 of 6 free throws. He became the first rookie with at least 35 points and 10 rebounds in a game since Carmelo Anthony did it in 2004, per ESPN Stats and Info.
Nikola Jokic had a triple-double and led the Nuggets (43-23) in overtime with eight of the team’s 12 points, plus four rebounds and a steal. He finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
The triple-double is his 13th of the season. The only center with more is Wilt Chamberlain, who had totals of 31 and 22 in the 1960s.
The Nuggets struggled from 3-point range (7-25) but made 30 of their 39 free throws whereas the Thunder hit 24 of 31. Their largest lead was 10 points, held only briefly, in a close game throughout.
Paul Millsap and Monte Morris each scored 17 points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder (41-24) with 24 points and Chris Paul added 23 with eight assists. Oklahoma City scored only four points in the extra period.
Free throws set up overtime
The two combined for 66 free throw attempts in regulation, so it was unsurprising that both teams had a chance to win it at the line in the final six seconds.
After the Paul missed a 7-foot floater to pad the Thunder’s slim 106-105 lead, Morris answered with one to give the Nuggets the lead back.
Danilo Gallinari hit both free throws with 23 seconds remaining for the Thunder and Morris answered with six seconds left to get the Nuggets back in front, 109-108
Paul made only one of his two attempts with 2.9 on the clock and the Nuggets couldn’t convert on their final possession to force overtime.
What the Nuggets win means in the NBA bubble
The Nuggets were without Will Barton, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray on Monday. All were out with injury. They entered the game with a slim hold on the third seed behind the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
The middle of the conference standings are tight and there’s not a lot of regular season left before the postseason. The win gave the Nuggets more room above the sixth-seeded Thunder, who could have jumped to a half-game back of the Nuggets with a victory. It’s a step closer to home-court advantage.
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