Nikola Jokic had 22 points and 18 rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-95 on Sunday night.
Austin Rivers scored a season-high 22 points and Jeff Green added 16 points. The Nuggets avenged a 108-94 loss to the Thunder on Dec. 22 in Oklahoma City.
Lu Dort scored 14 points for the Thunder. They have lost four straight.
Denver raced to a 22-4 lead in the first six minutes. The Nuggets shot 52% in the first half to take a 61-49 lead at the break. Rivers had 14 points in the half.
The Thunder spent most of the third quarter trimming their deficit and finally took a 75-74 lead on a 3-pointer by Josh Giddey with about two minutes left in the period. Denver led 80-78 heading into the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma City rookie Tre Mann ripped the ball out of Jokic’s grasp, then drove downcourt and found rookie Aaron Wiggins, who took off for a flying right-handed jam that put the Thunder up 93-88 with 4:26 to play.
Rivers had a 3-pointer and an acrobatic layup on back-to-back possessions to put Denver up 95-93. Oklahoma City trailed 97-95 and could have taken the lead in the final minute, but Jeremiah Robinson-Earl’s 3-pointer missed badly with 32 seconds to play. Denver’s Will Barton made two free throws with 12.6 seconds left to create the final margin.
Nuggets: Signed guard Davon Reed to a two-way contract and waived two-way center Petr Cornelie in a related move. ... Outrebounded Oklahoma City 20-9 in the first quarter to take a 36-23 lead. ... Guard Facundo Campazzo had one point and eight assists.
Thunder: Eleven Oklahoma City players scored in the first half, but none posted more than six points before the break. ... Robinson-Earl scored 12 points, Giddey had 11 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and Darius Bazley added 10 points.
Nuggets: At the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
Thunder: At Washington on Tuesday night.