The Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets engaged in a frantic battle to the final buzzer on Thursday night. The Thunder trailed by as many as 20, fought back to tie the game in the final seconds, but the comeback bid came up short at the end thanks to a last second three from Gary Harris as time expired.
After trailing 106-89 to start the 4th quarter, the Thunder's bench unit provided a spark that gave them life. The bench unit pulled the Thunder within 10 after an 11-4 run. Paul George and Russell Westbrook took over from there and put the team on their backs. George and Westbrook scored the Thunder's final 24 points of the game.
The final two minutes were an exciting back-and-forth affair that had both teams putting themselves in a position to win. Murray hit a floater in the lane that put the Nuggets up 118-111. Westbrook came back and responded with a corner three over Jokic. Murray then took advantage of a Steven Adams switch, and blew past him for a layup. Down 120-114, George responded with a deep trey from the top of the key to bring the Thunder within three. Grant drew a charge on Jokic and George got into the paint and made a layup to pull the Thunder within 1.
On the next Nuggets possession, Murray got deep into the paint again, Grant rotated over a split second too late for the block and was called for goaltending. Trailing 122-119, Westbrook quickly scored out of a set timeout play. On the defensive end, the Thunder forced a miss from Murray, but Jokic got the offensive rebound. The Thunder were forced to foul and Jokic sank both free throws.
The Thunder put the ball in the hands of George out of the timeout, he took two hard dribbles, hit a hard stepback, and launched a trey that ripped the core of the net. Tied at 122 with 1.4 seconds remaining, the Thunder needed a stop to send the game into overtime. Jokic threw a perfect crosscourt pass to Harris, while Westbrook's attention was focused on the top of the key, which meant he was a split second too late for the contest, and Harris drained the three as time expired to give the Nuggets the win.
The Thunder and Nuggets both shot over 50% from the field and put up over 30 assists apiece. The Nuggets hit 15 treys on the night and won the rebound battle 43-40. The Thunder dominated in the paint with a 66-48 advantage inside.
George was incredible all night, scoring a season-high 43 points on 19-of-26 shooting. Westbrook struggled in the first half, but scored 16 of his 20 points in the 2nd half, and also dished a season-high 21 assists. Jerami Grant scored 18 points off the bench. Alex Abrines chipped in 13. Carmelo Anthony put in 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Murray racked up 33 points on 14-of-23 shooting, including five threes. Jokic notched his 3rd triple double of the season with 29 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds. Harris scored 25 points, including the game-winning three.
The Thunder are back in action tomorrow night, as they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to Chesapeake Energy Arena.