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The Denver Nuggets walk back to their hotel rooms with a victory from this Monday evening game. After the first Thunder win in the Orlando Bubble against the Jazz just two days ago, Oklahoma City had to stay on guard until the end of this contest, and ultimately fell short. The constant back and forth was as much a mental battle as it was a test of endurance, which resulted in a failed attempt to pull it out in overtime.
The Nuggets were missing three starters, but the Thunder had some disadvantages of their own coming into today’s game with Dennis Schröder leaving the Bubble to anticipate the birth of his child, and Terrance Ferguson out with a leg contusion. Mike Muscala also exited towards the end of the first quarter and is now undergoing the league’s concussion protocol. As if that weren’t enough, the foul trouble that first Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, then Chris Paul, and then Steven Adams found themselves in had us all questioning who would end up finishing the game if a mass exodus were to commence.
While the end result was a loss for OKC, the performances off the bench kept the game close enough to have us all hopeful and frightened at the same time. Abdel Nader and Hamidou Diallo both showed out during their time on the court time. A loss now could have a silver lining. If the Thunder see where they need to focus in practice and adapt without Schröder, disappointment now could hopefully account for success in the future as OKC continues to tune up along with everyone else in Orlando.