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Westbrook, Murray tussle as Nuggets beat Thunder 109-98

DENVER (AP) For all his offensive contributions and rebounding, Nikola Jokic's most important role in the end was peacemaker.

Jokic scored 24 points, Jamal Murray had 19 and the Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 109-98 on Friday night 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.

Asked what Westbrook said to him, Jokic said he didn't remember and dismissed the dustup as ''nothing.''

''He's a competitive guy,'' Jokic said. ''He didn't want to lose. All is good. I just wanted to separate them.''

Westbrook said there was a reason behind his initial shove of Murray.

''He was in my way,'' Westbrook explained.

Murray said he hadn't done anything to provoke the incident.

''He tried to move me out of the way,'' Murray said. ''He shoved me first. It is what it is. I didn't do anything.''

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, scored six points in his Nuggets debut, including a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Paul George had 32 points to lead the Thunder, who lost their fourth in a row to the Nuggets.

''From an identity standpoint and how we want to play, we want to play downhill,'' Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. ''I think when we got around the basket, they have a lot of physicality. They have Jokic and (Mason) Plumlee, but we had some opportunities to finish plays. Jerami Grant got into the teeth of the defense, but couldn't finish. Steven Adams had a great offensive game and had opportunities to score as did Russell Westbrook. We had a lot of guys in there, but we just weren't able to finish.''

Adams scored 26 points, while Grant and Westbrook finished with 13 apiece. Westbrook and Adams also had 14 rebounds each.

Trailing by 10 late in the third quarter, Oklahoma City got a layup and a 3-pointer from George in the final minute to pull to 82-76.

With a 9-2 burst capped by another layup from George, the Thunder trimmed it to 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.

Murray said the lesson he's taking from the game's finish is the resiliency the Nuggets have shown despite missing key players because of injuries.

''We're taking every game seriously,'' Murray said. ''We're playing with a lot of confidence and everybody is a threat. It's not just me or Joker or Gary (Harris). Everybody on the court is taking shots and setting each other up. We go out there and we win games. We have fun doing it. We all stand up for each other. We all look out for each other. And the more we win games, we know we can beat anybody.''

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 3-point range.

Adams scored 17 points in the first half, helping to keep the Thunder within striking distance.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Andre Roberson remains sidelined by a left patellar tendon injury that has kept him out all season.

Nuggets: F Paul Millsap missed his third game since breaking his right big toe. ... Harris sat out his fifth straight game because of a right hip injury. ... Plumlee fouled out with just over six minutes left.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Complete a back-to-back set at home Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Nuggets: Continue a four-game homestand Sunday night against Toronto.

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Key Players
R. Westbrook
0 PG
N. Jokic
15 C
30.4 Min. Per Game 30.4
17.1 Pts. Per Game 17.1
7.6 Ast. Per Game 7.6
9.8 Reb. Per Game 9.8
44.4 Field Goal % 47.8
44.8 Three Point % 47.8
61.5 Free Throw % 84.0
  Out of bounds turnover on DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell 0:12
+ 1 Jamal Murray made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:33
+ 1 Jamal Murray made 1st of 2 free throws 0:33
  Clear path foul on Jerami Grant 0:33
  Unsportsmanlike technical foul 0:35
  Unsportsmanlike technical foul 0:35
  Defensive rebound by Torrey Craig 0:36
  Steven Adams missed 2nd of 2 free throws 0:38
  OKC team rebound 0:38
  Steven Adams missed 1st of 2 free throws 0:38
  Shooting foul on Nikola Jokic 0:38
Team Stats
Points 98 109
Field Goals 37-90 (41.1%) 42-83 (50.6%)
3-Pointers 7-19 (36.8%) 11-34 (32.4%)
Free Throws 17-29 (58.6%) 14-15 (93.3%)
Total Rebounds 54 53
Offensive 19 12
Defensive 24 36
Team 11 5
Assists 14 29
Steals 9 8
Blocks 4 6
Turnovers 13 20
Fouls 17 24
Technicals 3 2
26 PTS, 14 REB, 2 AST
24 PTS, 15 REB, 9 AST
1234T
away team logo Thunder 17-10 3220242298
home team logo Nuggets 19-9 39212227109
Team Stats
away team logo Thunder 17-10 105.2 PPG 43.2 RPG 22.6 APG
home team logo Nuggets 19-9 109.1 PPG 47.7 RPG 24.0 APG
Key Players
P. George SF 28.6 PPG 8.6 RPG 3.6 APG 43.6 FG%
N. Jokic C 25.1 PPG 13.0 RPG 8.4 APG 50.6 FG%
Top Scorers
P. George SF 32 PTS 5 REB 2 AST
N. Jokic C 24 PTS 15 REB 9 AST
41.1 FG% 50.6
36.8 3PT FG% 32.4
58.6 FT% 93.3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
P. George 32 5 2 12/24 3/6 5/6 2 39 1 0 3 3 2 -7 39
S. Adams 26 14 2 12/20 0/0 2/6 4 37 1 2 1 11 3 -4 46
R. Westbrook 13 14 8 5/15 1/3 2/2 3 36 4 1 4 1 13 -9 44
J. Grant 13 2 0 4/11 1/4 4/4 2 34 2 0 1 2 0 -9 16
T. Ferguson 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/2 3 23 1 0 0 0 0 +1 1
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
P. George 32 5 2 12/24 3/6 5/6 2 39 1 0 3 3 2 -7 39
S. Adams 26 14 2 12/20 0/0 2/6 4 37 1 2 1 11 3 -4 46
R. Westbrook 13 14 8 5/15 1/3 2/2 3 36 4 1 4 1 13 -9 44
J. Grant 13 2 0 4/11 1/4 4/4 2 34 2 0 1 2 0 -9 16
T. Ferguson 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/2 3 23 1 0 0 0 0 +1 1
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Schroder 11 1 2 3/13 1/2 4/7 1 28 0 0 2 0 1 -13 14
P. Patterson 3 2 0 1/3 1/2 0/0 0 5 0 0 0 2 0 -1 5
A. Nader 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Abrines 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 18 0 0 1 0 0 -1 -1
N. Noel 0 5 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 10 0 1 0 0 5 -7 6
T. Luwawu-Cabarrot 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
H. Diallo 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/2 1 3 0 0 1 0 0 -5 -1
A. Roberson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Burton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Davis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Felton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 98 43 14 37/90 7/19 17/29 17 235 9 4 13 19 24 -55 169
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
N. Jokic 24 15 9 8/16 2/4 6/6 3 35 3 0 6 3 12 +10 54
J. Murray 19 9 1 8/15 0/4 3/3 3 33 0 0 5 2 7 +4 25
J. Hernangomez 16 4 3 5/9 2/6 4/4 3 33 1 0 0 0 4 +14 27
T. Craig 15 5 3 6/7 3/4 0/0 2 35 0 1 1 2 3 +9 26
M. Plumlee 6 4 3 3/7 0/0 0/0 6 19 1 3 2 2 2 0 18
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
N. Jokic 24 15 9 8/16 2/4 6/6 3 35 3 0 6 3 12 +10 54
J. Murray 19 9 1 8/15 0/4 3/3 3 33 0 0 5 2 7 +4 25
J. Hernangomez 16 4 3 5/9 2/6 4/4 3 33 1 0 0 0 4 +14 27
T. Craig 15 5 3 6/7 3/4 0/0 2 35 0 1 1 2 3 +9 26
M. Plumlee 6 4 3 3/7 0/0 0/0 6 19 1 3 2 2 2 0 18
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
M. Morris 14 3 6 6/11 2/5 0/0 1 26 2 0 0 0 3 +11 31
T. Lyles 9 6 3 4/10 0/4 1/2 3 30 0 2 3 2 4 +3 20
N. Young 6 0 0 2/3 2/3 0/0 2 8 0 0 0 0 0 +4 6
D. Akoon-Purcell 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 -1
T. Welsh 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Beasley 0 2 1 0/5 0/4 0/0 1 15 1 0 2 1 1 0 3
T. Lydon 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
P. Millsap - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Thomas - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Barton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Harris - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Vanderbilt - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Porter Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 109 48 29 42/83 11/34 14/15 24 237 8 6 20 12 36 +55 209