OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Paul Millsap scored a season-high 36 points to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-125 in overtime on Friday night.
Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and Will Barton added 18 points for the Nuggets, who had lost two straight and desperately needed the win for the Western conference playoff race. Denver entered the night two games out of the No. 8 spot.
Russell Westbrook had 33 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds, but he missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer at the end of regulation. Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and Jerami Grant added 16 for the Thunder, who have lost four of five. Those losses have been by a combined nine points, with none by more than four.
Denver led 122-121 in overtime and had the ball before the Thunder tied up Jamal Murray and forced a jump ball with 15 seconds left. The Thunder got possession on the jump ball, but Denver’s Mason Plumlee blocked Grant’s layup. Millsap made two free throws at the other end to put Denver up 124-121.
Paul George was fouled with 4.6 seconds left. He made the first free throw, then the Thunder were called for a lane violation on George’s intentional miss. Barton made two free throws on the other end to seal it.
Millsap scored 15 points in the first half to give Denver a 62-58 lead. The Nuggets scored the first six points of the second half, including two buckets by Millsap, to go up 10. The Nuggets expanded their lead to 15 later in the quarter and took a 92-79 advantage into the fourth.
Oklahoma City’s reserves helped the Thunder climb back into the game. Westbrook tied the game at 94 on a drive when the Nuggets were called for goaltending, and the Thunder finally took a 99-97 lead on a 3-pointer by Grant.
Barton made a layup with nine seconds left to tie the score at 114. Westbrook missed a deep three in the closing seconds, and the game went to overtime.
Nuggets: Shot 52.2 percent in the first half. … F Wilson Chandler left the game with a nose contusion. … G Gary Harris missed his seventh straight game with a right knee strain. Coach Michael Malone said he expects Harris to miss at least another week.
Thunder: Opened the game with a 9-0 lead. … Made just 15 of 26 free throws. … Made a franchise-record 20 3-pointers.
The Nuggets host the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
The Thunder play at the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.
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