NBA: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets scrape past Thunder in OT

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Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena on October 19, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images/AFP

Nikola Jokic scored 39 points and Aaron Gordon heated up late to finish with 30 to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 131-126 overtime win over the host Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

The scoring totals were season highs for both players.

For much of the game, Jokic was carrying the bulk of the scoring load for the Nuggets, who were playing without Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Bones Hyland.

But late in regulation and in overtime, Jokic got plenty of help.

As Jokic backed down a defender in the final two minutes of overtime, Vlatko Cancar cut to the basket and Jokic found him to put Denver ahead by five. Then in the closing seconds, Bruce Brown’s floater all but put the game away.

Jokic finished with 10 rebounds and nine assists. He was 16 of 18 from the free-throw line as Denver attempted a season-high 41 free throws.

Cancar scored a career-high 20 points.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 31 points and 11 assists. Isaiah Joe scored a career-high 21 off the bench, hitting seven 3-pointers.

The game featured several wild swings, with the Nuggets coming back from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit after blowing what was a 19-point lead in the first half.

The Thunder led by 15 early in the fourth quarter before Gordon took over and helped the Nuggets back into the game with 17 points in the fourth quarter.

With Denver trailing by two in the final minute of regulation, Jokic backed down toward the basket before flipping the ball over his head to Gordon for a game-tying dunk.

Seven of Jokic’s assists came in the second half and overtime.

The Nuggets poured it on early, building a 19-point lead little more than eight minutes into the game. Jokic scored all 14 of his first-quarter points during that stretch, helping Denver to a 33-14 lead.

The Nuggets’ lead was still 19 midway through the second before Oklahoma City closed the half with a 26-13 run to get back into the game.

Joe fueled the start of the comeback, hitting four 3-pointers in the last 5:19 of the half to pull the Thunder within six at the break.

Oklahoma City held Denver to a season-low 15 points in the third to extend its lead to 13.

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