Denver Nuggets – 126
OKC Thunder – 125
Tough pill to swallow. OKC again failed to gain traction in the playoff race largely due to an embarrassing performance at the free throw stripe and an equally embarrassing performance in the third quarter. For the majority of the game, the team showed fight. Russ scored 33, Melo 23, PG 13, and Jerami Grant had one of his best games of the season and put in 16. But the team missed 11 free throws (not counting PG’s intentional miss in OT). That’s embarrassing. That’ll drive a high school coach crazy. Couple that with being outscored by 28 in the paint and you’ve got a recipe for a big, fat L.
This game started exactly how a game should. Denver started out slow and OKC cashed in. Denver caught their stride and made it a game which was fine. Melo came out hot and PG had a good quarter as well. At this point, OKC looked in good hands.
Started to slip up to start the second quarter. They started to adapt about midway through the quarter. The two glaring problems in the quarter was OKC’s inability to guard the three (they don’t try) and not putting bodies up in the paint. Don’t get me wrong, OKC was playing good defense in the paint, but Denver hardly had to try to get there. Second chance points was a good advantage this quarter.
Horrible and embarrassing. That’s as best as I can put it. I would’ve rather watched the women’s basketball Final Four than watch this quarter. Wide open shots were missed, layups were missed, poor defense, poor rebounding, Denver, again, made it to the paint with ease. The only positive of this quarter is they had a slight run midway through the quarter and finished only down 13 when they could’ve easily been down by 20+
This was one hell of a turnaround. When sports analysts talk about OKC still having a shot at contending in the West, these are the quarters they have in mind. But free throwwwwws. FREE THROWS! This game doesn’t go to overtime if free throws are made. Melo wasn’t in the late game situation which was oddly surprising. Jerami Grant reaped the rewards and continued one of the best games of his season. Russ missed the game winner but his thunderous (no pun intended) dunk and PG’s insane hustle play with less than a minute left made up for it. Upsetting to not put it away, but a terrific quarter.
Disappointing way to go down. Corey Brewer was big to start out OT and gave himself another double figure game. OKC just couldn’t execute. We witnessed a terrible charge call but that isn’t what lost the game. It’s sad to see the team go down in this fashion. They fought, but ultimately came up short.
I probably use the term a little more than I should, but this next one on Sunday feels like a must-win. It’s not going to be easy stacking up against the Anthony Davis Pelicans (someone told me it was actually the New Orleans Pelicans?). But in all seriousness, New Orleans is on the brink of making/not making the playoffs and is 2-0 in the season series with OKC. It’s going to be tough. The two games following this one are against Golden State and Houston. It’s time to nut up OKC, we need a win.