DEN
OKC

No Text

Chris Paul scores 29 points, leads Thunder past Nuggets

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Chris Paul lectured his teammates on the importance of handling their business after the All-Star break, then he showed them how to do it.

Paul scored 29 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Denver Nuggets 113-101 on Friday night.

The Thunder entered the night sixth in the Western Conference standings. Paul believes Oklahoma City should have a sense of urgency about finishing higher.

''Some teams try to warm up into it,'' Paul said. ''We don't got that benefit. We've got to come out, 20-something games left - it's the homestretch.''

Steven Adams had 19 points and 17 rebounds, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 11 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Thunder. They have won 11 of their past 14 games.

The Thunder had seven players score in double figures. Once again, the point guard trio of Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder set the tone.

''If you guys had mics on us, you'd see that we are all each other's biggest cheerleaders,'' Paul said. ''I've seen teams where guys aren't necessarily rooting for each other. They want you to do bad so they can be in the game. We're not like that, and it's refreshing and nice to see.''

Nikola Jokic scored 32 points on 12-for-15 shooting and Jamal Murray had 21 points for the Nuggets. They entered the night with the second-best record in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City scored 25 points off Denver's 19 turnovers.

''We didn't take care of the ball,'' Denver coach Michael Malone said. ''That was a huge issue that happened all night long. We didn't value the ball for 48 minutes.''

Paul banked in a shot and was fouled with 2.7 seconds left in the first half to tie it, but missed the free throw and the score remained 48-all at halftime.

The Thunder opened the second half on a 9-1 run that forced the Nuggets to call a timeout. Denver responded, and a 10-0 run cut Oklahoma City's lead to 60-59.

A steal and dunk by Oklahoma City's Luguentz Dort sent the floor cleanup crew scrambling and gave the Thunder a 66-61 lead.

''I can't say enough about Lu,'' Paul said. ''He makes all the plays that nobody else would. That steal he got - I just thought about it. And that dunk.''

Paul was fouled on a made 3-pointer, and his free throw put Oklahoma City up 72-65. The Thunder took a 78-77 edge into the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City, as it has done so often this season, took over in the final period. A dunk by Nerlens Noel on a lob from Schroder put the Thunder up 95-85. A dunk by Adams gave Oklahoma City a 109-97 edge with just under two minutes remaining.

Adams scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, one of eight Thunder players to score in the period.

''If you got it going, we're going to get it to them,'' Paul said. ''And we just take what's open.''

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Missed all seven of their 3-point attempts in the first quarter and made just 6 of 27 overall. ... Made 31 of 50 shots inside the 3-point line and 21 of 23 free throws.

Thunder: Dort made the first 3-pointer by either team more than eight minutes into the game. ... Former University of Oklahoma tight end Blake Bell of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs attended the game. ... F Danilo Gallinari was called for a flagrant 1 in the second quarter.

QUOTABLE

Paul, on committing seven of Oklahoma City's 12 turnovers: ''How many did we have? I probably had seven or eight. I had more than half of them. I've got to be better.''

GRANT'S RECEPTION

Former Thunder player Jerami Grant received a nice ovation from the crowd when he checked into the game in the first quarter. Oklahoma City traded the forward to Denver this past summer.

''I thought it was great,'' Grant said. ''I love the fans here. Got a bunch of great memories here. I think it was definitely good.''

STAT LINES

The Thunder have had the best record in the Western Conference since Dec. 18. The 21-8 record comes out to a .724 winning percentage.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Host Minnesota on Sunday.

Thunder: Host San Antonio on Sunday.

---

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

---

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter (at)CliffBruntAP

Copyright 2020 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:42 +2 Nikola Jokic made hook shot 2-0
11:20   Danilo Gallinari missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:18   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
11:18   Out of bounds turnover on Jamal Murray  
11:06 +2 Steven Adams made hook shot, assist by Danilo Gallinari 2-2
10:48 +2 Nikola Jokic made floating jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 4-2
10:33 +2 Danilo Gallinari made alley-oop shot, assist by Steven Adams 4-4
10:17   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:14   Offensive rebound by Gary Harris  
10:08   Gary Harris missed floating jump shot  
10:05   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
9:49   Chris Paul missed jump shot  
9:43   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
9:43   Steven Adams missed dunk  
9:43   Defensive rebound by Will Barton  
9:38   Will Barton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:36   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
9:29   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:25   Defensive rebound by Will Barton  
9:20   Gary Harris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:17   Defensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
9:01   Danilo Gallinari missed jump shot  
8:59   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
8:39   Nikola Jokic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:36   Defensive rebound by Danilo Gallinari  
8:26   Steven Adams missed layup  
8:24   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
8:14   Out of bounds turnover on Gary Harris  
8:07 +2 Steven Adams made jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 4-6
7:56   Personal foul on Luguentz Dort  
7:48   Gary Harris missed driving layup  
7:46   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
7:39 +2 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made finger-roll layup 4-8
7:12 +2 Jamal Murray made jump shot 6-8
7:03   Luguentz Dort missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:59   Defensive rebound by Gary Harris  
6:48   Bad pass turnover on Will Barton, stolen by Steven Adams  
6:45   Shooting foul on Gary Harris  
6:45   Full timeout called  
6:45   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed 1st of 2 free throws  
6:45   OKC team rebound  
6:45 +1 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made 2nd of 2 free throws 6-9
6:32 +2 Nikola Jokic made jump shot 8-9
6:32   Shooting foul on Nerlens Noel  
6:32 +1 Nikola Jokic made free throw 9-9
6:23   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed jump shot  
6:21   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
6:14   Paul Millsap missed jump shot  
6:12   Defensive rebound by Nerlens Noel  
6:01   Chris Paul missed jump shot  
5:59   DEN team rebound  
5:52   Will Barton missed jump shot, blocked by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
5:50   Defensive rebound by Danilo Gallinari  
5:43 +2 Nerlens Noel made layup, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 9-11
5:18 +2 Nikola Jokic made layup 11-11
4:54   Bad pass turnover on Chris Paul, stolen by Will Barton  
4:54   Personal foul on Chris Paul  
4:42   Gary Harris missed driving layup  
4:39   Offensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
4:39 +2 Nikola Jokic made dunk 13-11
4:31 +2 Nerlens Noel made jump shot, assist by Luguentz Dort 13-13
4:16 +2 Jamal Murray made jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 15-13
3:54 +3 Luguentz Dort made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Danilo Gallinari 15-16
3:30   Gary Harris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:27   Defensive rebound by Dennis Schroder  
3:20   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed driving layup, blocked by Jamal Murray  
3:17   Offensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
3:07   Shooting foul on Gary Harris  
3:07 +1 Danilo Gallinari made 1st of 2 free throws 15-17
3:07 +1 Danilo Gallinari made 2nd of 2 free throws 15-18
2:49   Out of bounds turnover on Mason Plumlee  
2:49   Full timeout called  
2:33   Dennis Schroder missed floating jump shot  
2:30   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
2:18   Bad pass turnover on Mason Plumlee, stolen by Dennis Schroder  
2:06 +3 Dennis Schroder made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 15-21
1:49   Jerami Grant missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:46   Defensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
1:33 +2 Nerlens Noel made layup, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 15-23
1:33   Full timeout called  
1:13   Michael Porter Jr. missed jump shot  
1:11   Defensive rebound by Terrance Ferguson  
1:11   Shooting foul on Monte Morris  
1:11 +1 Dennis Schroder made 1st of 2 free throws 15-24
1:11 +1 Dennis Schroder made 2nd of 2 free throws 15-25
0:55 +2 Monte Morris made floating jump shot 17-25
0:36 +2 Dennis Schroder made jump shot, assist by Steven Adams 17-27
0:26   Monte Morris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:23   Defensive rebound by Dennis Schroder  
0:01   Bad pass turnover on Chris Paul, stolen by Mason Plumlee  
0:01   Torrey Craig missed 3-pt. jump shot, blocked by Steven Adams  
0:00   DEN team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:43   Abdel Nader missed driving layup  
11:42   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
11:37   Shooting foul on Terrance Ferguson  
11:37 +1 Jamal Murray made 1st of 2 free throws 18-27
11:37 +1 Jamal Murray made 2nd of 2 free throws 19-27
11:24   Bad pass turnover on Chris Paul, stolen by Mason Plumlee  
11:20   Monte Morris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:18   Offensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
11:11 +3 Torrey Craig made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 22-27
10:59   Steven Adams missed layup  
10:57   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
10:57   Steven Adams missed dunk  
10:57   Offensive rebound by Abdel Nader  
10:57 +2 Abdel Nader made dunk 22-29
10:57   Violation  
10:36   Jamal Murray missed jump shot  
10:34   Defensive rebound by Dennis Schroder  
10:24   Terrance Ferguson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:21   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
10:21   Personal foul on Mason Plumlee  
10:10   Out of bounds turnover on Chris Paul  
10:03 +2 Monte Morris made layup, assist by Mason Plumlee 24-29
9:51   Out of bounds turnover on Dennis Schroder  
9:41   Bad pass turnover on Jamal Murray, stolen by Steven Adams  
9:36   Dennis Schroder missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:33   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
9:33   Shooting foul on Torrey Craig  
9:33 +1 Steven Adams made 1st of 2 free throws 24-30
9:33   Steven Adams missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
9:30   Defensive rebound by Jerami Grant  
9:20   Lost ball turnover on Jamal Murray, stolen by Dennis Schroder  
9:09   Shooting foul on Mason Plumlee  
9:09 +1 Abdel Nader made 1st of 2 free throws 24-31
9:09 +1 Abdel Nader made 2nd of 2 free throws 24-32
8:54   Jerami Grant missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:50   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
8:45 +2 Chris Paul made jump shot 24-34
8:32   Torrey Craig missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:28   Offensive rebound by Monte Morris  
8:26   Shooting foul on Chris Paul  
8:26 +1 Jerami Grant made 1st of 2 free throws 25-34
8:26 +1 Jerami Grant made 2nd of 2 free throws 26-34
8:20   Shooting foul on Monte Morris  
8:20 +1 Nerlens Noel made 1st of 2 free throws 26-35
8:20 +1 Nerlens Noel made 2nd of 2 free throws 26-36
8:04   Shooting foul on Nerlens Noel  
8:04 +1 Nikola Jokic made 1st of 2 free throws 27-36
8:04 +1 Nikola Jokic made 2nd of 2 free throws 28-36
7:49   Out of bounds turnover on Dennis Schroder  
7:40   Out of bounds turnover on Jerami Grant  
7:40   Full timeout called  
7:27   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed finger-roll layup  
7:25   Offensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
7:25   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed dunk  
7:23   Defensive rebound by Gary Harris  
7:21   Gary Harris missed layup  
7:19   Defensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
7:06   Nerlens Noel missed jump shot  
7:03   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
6:48   Shooting foul on Nerlens Noel  
6:48 +1 Nikola Jokic made 1st of 2 free throws 29-36
6:48 +1 Nikola Jokic made 2nd of 2 free throws 30-36
6:32   Danilo Gallinari missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:28   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
6:21   Personal foul on Dennis Schroder  
6:21 +1 Nikola Jokic made 1st of 2 free throws 31-36
6:21 +1 Nikola Jokic made 2nd of 2 free throws 32-36
6:01   Bad pass turnover on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, stolen by Monte Morris  
5:54   Offensive foul on Paul Millsap  
5:54   Turnover on Paul Millsap  
5:37   Flagrant foul on Danilo Gallinari  
5:37   Turnover on Danilo Gallinari  
5:37 +1 Jamal Murray made 1st of 2 free throws 33-36
5:37 +1 Jamal Murray made 2nd of 2 free throws 34-36
5:25 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 37-36
4:55   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:52   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
4:42   Paul Millsap missed jump shot  
4:39   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
4:32 +2 Dennis Schroder made jump shot 37-38
4:16   Will Barton missed driving layup  
4:14   Offensive rebound by Will Barton  
4:14 +2 Will Barton made dunk 39-38
4:03   Danilo Gallinari missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:59   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
3:56   Bad pass turnover on Nikola Jokic, stolen by Danilo Gallinari  
3:48   Danilo Gallinari missed layup  
3:46   Offensive rebound by Dennis Schroder  
3:45   Dennis Schroder missed jump shot  
3:42   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
3:40   Full timeout called  
3:31   Shooting foul on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
3:31   Will Barton missed 1st of 2 free throws  
3:31   DEN team rebound  
3:31 +1 Will Barton made 2nd of 2 free throws 40-38
3:11   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed driving layup  
3:09   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
3:00   Bad pass turnover on Gary Harris, stolen by Luguentz Dort  
2:55   Luguentz Dort missed layup  
2:53   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
2:50   Lost ball turnover on Paul Millsap, stolen by Luguentz Dort  
2:44   Steven Adams missed jump shot  
2:41   Offensive rebound by Luguentz Dort  
2:41   Luguentz Dort missed dunk, blocked by Nikola Jokic  
2:38   Defensive rebound by Will Barton  
2:36 +2 Will Barton made finger-roll layup 42-38
2:21 +2 Chris Paul made jump shot 42-40
1:54   Bad pass turnover on Will Barton, stolen by Steven Adams  
1:47 +3 Danilo Gallinari made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 42-43
1:22 +2 Will Barton made layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 44-43
1:04   Danilo Gallinari missed jump shot  
1:04   DEN team rebound  
0:52 +2 Nikola Jokic made jump shot, assist by Will Barton 46-43
0:33 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 46-46
0:22 +2 Paul Millsap made floating jump shot, assist by Will Barton 48-46
0:22   Violation  
0:02 +2 Chris Paul made jump shot 48-48
0:02   Shooting foul on Paul Millsap  
0:02   Chris Paul missed free throw  
0:00   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
0:01   Steven Adams missed dunk, blocked by Paul Millsap  
0:01   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:46 +2 Luguentz Dort made driving layup, assist by Chris Paul 48-50
11:32   Shooting foul on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
11:32 +1 Will Barton made 1st of 2 free throws 49-50
11:32   Will Barton missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
11:30   Defensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
11:13   Chris Paul missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:09   Defensive rebound by Gary Harris  
10:51   Nikola Jokic missed jump shot  
10:49   Defensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
10:47   Personal foul on Nikola Jokic  
10:39 +2 Steven Adams made layup, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 49-52
10:24   Paul Millsap missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:21   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
10:09   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed driving layup  
10:07   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
9:57   Shooting foul on Paul Millsap  
9:57 +1 Steven Adams made 1st of 2 free throws 49-53
9:57 +1 Steven Adams made 2nd of 2 free throws 49-54
9:45   Out of bounds turnover on Paul Millsap  
9:40 +3 Danilo Gallinari made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 49-57
9:39   Full timeout called  
9:17   Nikola Jokic missed jump shot  
9:14   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
9:10 +3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 49-60
8:55 +2 Will Barton made jump shot 51-60
8:44   Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:41   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
8:35   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:33   Defensive rebound by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  
8:18   Danilo Gallinari missed layup  
8:16   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
8:11 +3 Nikola Jokic made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Will Barton 54-60
7:50   Bad pass turnover on Chris Paul, stolen by Nikola Jokic  
7:45 +3 Gary Harris made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 57-60
7:26   Danilo Gallinari missed turnaround jump shot  
7:24   Defensive rebound by Will Barton  
7:19   Will Barton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:16