Aaron Gordon wanted to win amid Nikola Jokic’s absence.
The Denver Nuggets kept it close but were no match for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder. A large factor for the loss may have been Nikola Jokic’s absence. This prompted Michael Malone to use Aaron Gordon as the team’s starting center. Everyone started contributing right from the start but they eventually lost their grip on the game in the second half.
Aaron Gordon wanted to win this game for Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets forward even claimed that he was using this as ‘extra motivation’ as they battled it out with the second-seeded Thunder, per Katy Winge of Altitude TV. He also wished that they could run the game back for him to have done a better job.
Gordon’s grit was on display in this matchup. He stayed on the floor for 39 minutes and led his team in rebounding by grabbing 13 boards. The Nuggets also had him along with Jamal Murray, and Reggie Jackson lead the scoring barrage. All of them notched 16 points each while six Nuggets in total were able to record double-digit scoring numbers.
All of these were good in keeping the team in striking distance but not to get a win. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander popped off for 34 points and led the Thunder with his five assists. Chet Holmgren also followed it up with a double-double. The lanky big man managed to score 18 points and grab 13 rebounds.
Without Jokic, the Nuggets struggled to get back into the rebounding battle. Michael Malone’s squad only had 47 rebounds to the Thunder’s 53.