Denver Nuggets Blow Lead, Fall to Thunder 122-112


The Denver Nuggets led by as many as 11 points in the second half of Sunday’s game at Oklahoma City, but the Thunder rallied, overcoming the deficit to defeat the Nuggets 122-112.

In what has become a consistent trend for the Denver Nuggets as of late, they squandered a sizable lead going into the second half, allowing their opponent to rally and ultimately secure a victory. Russell Westbrook led the way for the Oklahoma City Thunder, nearly posting a triple-double with 30 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds. Kevin Durant also played exceptionally well, recording a double-double (his 10th of the season) with 26 points and 10 boards.

The Denver Nuggets went into the locker room at halftime holding an 8-point lead at 61-53. The Nuggets pushed the lead to 11 with 10:23 left in the third as rarely used forward Kostas Papanikolaou made a two point basket to give the Denver Nuggets a 64-53 lead. From that point though, the Thunder went on a run for the next 10 minutes or so, finishing out the quarter with a slim 91-89 lead. 

More from Mile High Maniac

The Denver Nuggets did regain the lead with 9:23 left in the fourth quarter, as a Jameer Nelson basket made the score 95-94 in favor of the visitors. After an Enes Kanter score with a little over 9 minutes left, a Randy Foye layup with 8:11 in the fourth gave the Denver Nuggets their final lead of the night at 97-96.

From that point until the end of the game, the Oklahoma City Thunder controlled this contest, pushing their lead to 10 points to close out the contest. With both Danilo Gallinari and Emmanuel Mudiay missing this game, the shorthanded Denver Nuggets performed well considering their truncated roster. The team’s newfound penchant for giving away leads is the most concerning takeaway from this contest. If the Denver Nuggets continue to give away winnable games, this season will continue to get worse by the day.

Kenneth Faried led the Denver Nuggets in scoring on Sunday with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Will Barton continued his good play off the bench with 19 points on 8-16 shooting, while also recording 5 rebounds and 5 assists in 35 minutes. Joffrey Lauvergne added 18 points and 5 rebounds, and shooting guard Gary Harris scored 16 points in 31 minutes as a starter. 

More from Denver Nuggets

Overall, the Denver Nuggets shot well on Sunday against the Thunder at nearly 49 percent; but it’s difficult to overcome a shooting night like what the Thunder experienced. Oklahoma City shot nearly 58 percent on the night, and also were incredibly accurate from beyond the arc, shooting 53 percent from long-range.

The Denver Nuggets competed with the Thunder for most of the game, but in the end, Oklahoma City’s talent and home-field advantage won out. Now having lost two straight (albeit to two of the top teams in the NBA in the Spurs and Thunder), the Denver Nuggets must work on maintaining leads.

Next: Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Preview

The schedule definitely does not get any easier, as the Denver Nuggets head home to the Pepsi Center to prepare for the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will suit up in Denver on Tuesday night.