Home Denver News Nikola Jokic, Bones Hyland can’t rescue Nuggets from 119-107 loss to Oklahoma...

Nikola Jokic, Bones Hyland can’t rescue Nuggets from 119-107 loss to Oklahoma City Thunder

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The Nuggets couldn’t buy a bucket with Jeff Bezos’ credit card. And Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? The kid was too much money from start to finish.

The Oklahoma City guard finished with a game-high 29 points to pace the lowly Thunder to an oddly comfortable 119-107 win over the Nuggets in the first of a four-game homestand for Denver at Ball Arena.

Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokic finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds for the hosts, but he got little or no help from his fellow starters. Bones Hyland and Bryn Forbes chipped in 19 and 18 points, respectively, off the bench in what was otherwise an off night for the Denver backcourt. The hosts shot a combined — and unsightly — 12 for 46 (26.1%) from beyond the arc.

The basketball gods continued to vex veteran guard Will Barton, who went into the night needing just one trey to tie the all-time Nuggets record for 3-pointers in a Denver uniform (768). The 6-foot-5 swingman whiffed on his first eight attempts from the beyond the arc and was good on one for his first nine shots on the evening, finishing with six points. Barton had been 0-5 on treys in Portland last Sunday and finished the evening a 3-pointer short of the career mark.

A funky night saw the Nuggets continue a theme from this past Sunday’s rout of Portland — namely, with the Denver bench riding to the rescue.

Good thing, too, because the underdog Thunder, who came in with a 19-42 record, outscored a set of lethargic, hurried-shooting Denver starters by a 23-12 margin to open the third quarter.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s runner with 4:47 to go in the frame gave OKC a 78-69 lead and necessitated coach Michael Malone’s second timeout of the stanza. The visitors took an 86-79 cushion into the start of the fourth quarter thanks to a nine-point third stanza by OKC guard Isaiah Roby and the Thunder nailing seven of 11 tries from beyond the arc to open the quarter.

The first half belonged to Jokic and the Nuggets’ bench mob. Paced by eight points from Hyland and another seven from Austin Rivers, the Denver reserves stomped their counterparts from Oklahoma City 29-12 on the scoreboard in the opening two quarters.

That the hosts only took a 57-55 lead into halftime, though, tells you how much Malone’s starters struggled to find a flow.

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The Nuggets’ non-Jokic opening five shot a combined 5 for 19 from the floor and 0 for 11 from beyond the arc over the first 24 minutes of the contest. And three of those makes came from veteran forward Jeff Green (eight points), thanks to a pair of thunderous dunks.

In their first action since Sunday, the hosts struggled to shake off the cobwebs early, misfiring on their first five attempts from the floor while the Thunder made good on four of their first six, opening the tilt with a 9-2 cushion. A peeved Malone responded with a timeout at the 8:52 mark of the opening quarter.

Jokic came out of the break with two quick makes but the Thunder continued to try and double-team the Nuggets’ All-Star into mistakes with the ball. An errant Joker pass out one of those OKC sandwiches led to a Thunder steal and a fast-break dunk by Darius Beazley with 3:06 left in the first that put the visitors up 19-12, forcing another Malone timeout.

The coach essentially made a line change at that point, and for the second straight contest, the Nuggets’ bench came to the rescue. Hyland netted eight points and DeMarcus Cousins added another bucket to key a 12-5 Nuggets run to close the stanza and knot the game at 24-all.

 


Article Source and Credit denverpost.com https://www.denverpost.com/2022/03/02/nikola-jokic-bones-hyland-nuggets-loss-oklahoma-city-thunder/ Buy Tickets for every event – Sports, Concerts, Festivals and more buytickets.com

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