The Denver Nuggets traveled to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in a matinee matchup on Sunday afternoon, only someone forgot to mention that to the Thunder.

The Nuggets demolished OKC in a 128-95 blowout win with several players showing out against an overwhelmed Thunder squad. Nikola Jokić led the way with a comfortable 28 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists, shooting 12-of-16 from the field and dominating in the paint against rookie big man Chet Holmgren. The Nuggets as a team scored 72 points in the paint and out-rebounded the Thunder 48-to-29, emphasizing the size difference between the teams.

Jamal Murray also added in 19 points and eight assists while staggering with the second unit. He continues to showcase an elite feel for the game this year.

Here are some other major takeaways from a tremendous Nuggets performance:

Michael Porter Jr. finds his rhythm

Early on, the Nuggets made it an emphasis to feature MPJ as often as they could. Even with Jokić and Murray taking up a fair amount of possessions, the team looked for MPJ to make an impact as a scorer and rebounder. Porter obliged, hitting an impressive array of jumpers and drives from all over the floor. Porter finished with 20 points and nine rebounds in his 25 minutes.

The Nuggets tried a new wrinkle in their rotation today. After playing the first eight minutes of the game, Porter had a quick rest on the bench before coming back in the game to begin the second quarter. The Nuggets ran out Porter, Murray, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, and Zeke Nnaji, resting Reggie Jackson for a brief stretch. It was a nice look by Malone for about four minutes, and though the Nuggets didn’t extend the lead in that stretch, it allowed Porter to find some extra opportunities to score while bringing in some more front court size.

Porter’s defense is also good now. He has the occasional mistake like any other player, but the vast majority of his defensive possessions are competent and impactful. He didn’t have any steals or blocks today, but the defensive rebounding is legitimately valuable. He’s averaging 11.33 rebounds per game in his first three games. When Porter’s locked in as a rebounder, very few forwards in the NBA can grab more boards than him.

Peyton Watson and Christian Braun show out

For as much credit as the Thunder get for having switchable wing-sized players all over their roster, the Nuggets can go toe-to-toe.

Peyton Watson, in his third game of the season, set a new career high with 17 points. Watson hit a three and a baseline mid-range jumper, but the majority of his baskets came on cuts to the rim and transition opportunities. The Nuggets love throwing the Alley-Oop to Watson because he skies for everything and throws down some awesome dunks. In addition to the points, Watson added four rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block, playing strong defense and affecting the Thunder’s drives consistently.

Christian Braun started the first two games of the year slowly but had a strong third game. With 11 points on 4-of-9 and 0-of-2 from three, Braun is still finding his shooting rhythm. He shot 5-of-5 from the free throw line though which is a good start. What really stood out from Braun though was everything else, dishing seven assists, grabbing seven rebounds, and adding another steal and block of his own. Braun may be Denver’s best 1-on-1 defender, which is a credit to his fundamentals and his defensive IQ.

If Watson and Braun can consistently impact the game on both ends from the bench, this is going to be another tremendous season for the Nuggets.

What’s Next

The Nuggets travel back to Denver tonight and will face the Utah Jazz on Monday night in their first back-to-back of the season. Because the Nuggets didn’t play any one player more than 30 minutes, expect the Nuggets to play their full squad tomorrow, barring any unforeseen injury/rest issues.

Final Rotations