Westbrook, Murray tussle as Nuggets beat Thunder 109-98
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 15, 2018 02:21 PM
Referee Mark Ayotte, center, separates Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, left, and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook as they exchanged words with only 35 seconds remaining in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 109-98. Both players were assessed technical fouls for their exchange. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
By Dennis Georgatos, Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 24 points, Jamal Murray had 19 and the Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 109-98 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) after Murray and Russell Westbrook had a heated exchange.
Westbrook and Murray pushed each other and argued after lining up next to each other for a jump ball in the final seconds. Jokic tried to get between them, and Westbrook threatened to beat up Jokic while being restrained. No blows were exchanged, but the final moments played out amid heightened tensions.
Jokic also had 15 rebounds and nine assists, just shy of a third triple-double this season. Nick Young, signed as a free agent Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), scored six points in his Nuggets debut, including a key three-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Paul George had 32 points to lead the Thunder, who lost their fourth in a row to the Nuggets.
Steven Adams added 26 points, and Jerami Grant and Westbrook finished with 13 points apiece.
Trailing by 10 points late in the third quarter, Oklahoma City got a layup and a three-pointer from George in the final minute to pull to within 82-76.
With a 9-2 burst capped by another layup from George, Oklahoma City pulled within 99-96 with 3:20 remaining. The Nuggets scored 10 of the last 12 points down the stretch, four of them on a jumper and a pair of free throws by Murray.
The teams were gathered for a jump ball with 35.7 seconds left when Westbrook, apparently upset over Murray's positioning around the circle, began pushing him. As Murray pushed back, teammates and officials quickly rushed in to separate the two, who exchanged words before the skirmish ended.
The Nuggets took a 60-52 lead at halftime, boosted by Torrey Craig's perimeter shooting as he made three of his first four attempts from three-point range.
Adams scored 17 of his points in the first half, helping to keep the Thunder within striking distance.
Thunder: Andre Roberson remains sidelined by a left patellar tendon injury that has kept him out all season.
Nuggets: F Paul Millsap missed a third game since suffering a right big toe fracture. ... G Gary Harris missed a fifth straight game because of a right hip injury. ... F Mason Plumlee fouled out with just over six minutes left to play.
Thunder: Complete a back-to-back at home Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time) against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Nuggets: Continue a four-game homestand Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) against Toronto.