Denver Nuggets (48-30, 17-22 road) vs. OKC Thunder (52-26, 29-10 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.9 (7th), Nuggets– 111.9 (1st)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 107.1 (15th), Nuggets – 107.1 (16th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.7 (13th), Nuggets – 95.6 (2nd)
View from the enemy: Roundball Mining Company
Crazy how much has changed. No longer is this game important in terms of the Northwest Division. Now OKC is chasing Dallas for third and the Nuggets, according to George Karl, might rather lose this game to help out.
But more than likely this is you first-round matchup still so there’s a lot to prove here. Plus, it’s a home game and you don’t want to lose at home. Especially when it could be a huge confidence booster against your future playoff opponent.
Denver coming in: The Nuggets are coming off a big win in Dallas.
Nothing has really changed from Tuesday, so here, let me just neatly copy and paste that over here for you.
A lot of interesting head-to-head matchups in this one. Nene versus Kendrick Perkins. Kenyon Martin versus Serge Ibaka. Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari versus Kevin Durant. Russell Westbrook versus Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton.
Arron Afflalo is questionable and not having him obviously hurts the Nuggets, but George Karl has really settled in to playing Felton and Lawson together, which makes Denver tough to match up with. In a game like this, I honestly don’t see that much that Thabo adds if Afflalo is out because defensively, he’s not set up to make that big of an impact. James Harden probably matches up better with both Felton and J.R. Smith, who comes off the bench. (If Afflalo is out, Chandler starts at shooting guard.)
I will add this though: We saw the importance of Perk taking away Nene and that definitely has to happen again. That is probably the most important thing the Thunder can do defensively. If Perk handles Nene one-on-one, other Thunder defenders can stay home and defender the perimeter, which is where Denver wants to score.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Division Champs.