Denver Nuggets (17-14, 9-7 road) vs. OKC Thunder (23-7, 11-1 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 108.3 (2nd), Nuggets– 106.8 (6th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.0 (15th), Nuggets – 103.4 (16th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.5 (4th), Nuggets – 95.5 (1st)
View from the enemy: Roundball Mining Company
You know what happened the last time the Thunder played the Nuggets? This happened. KD scored 41 and closed out Denver in dramatic fashion in Game 5. That series really exposed two things: 1) The Nuggets’ “team ball” style didn’t match up well with OKC and 2) these two teams, and fanbases, really don’t seem to like each other. Which is what makes it all a lot more fun.
The Nuggets appeared to be a legit Western Conference contender early on, but have fallen off due to a rash of injuries to big players. They’re still very dangerous and with them being a threat in the Northwest, OKC has to come ready to go. If there was a night to slip up in this homestand, this shouldn’t be it.
Denver coming in: The Nuggets last played Friday losing to Memphis.
Three Big Things
1. Who’s playing? Right now, as of writing this at 4:30 PM, both Perk and Westbrook are being called gametime decisions. I would bank on Westbrook playing — he’s never missed a game in his career — but I’m not so sure about Perk. Nene is out for Denver, meaning Perk isn’t needed quite as much as he otherwise would’ve been.
2. Ty Lawson. Without Nene or Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets are going to look heavily to Lawson creating everything for them. He’s lightning quick and can create points for himself and others.
3. The terrifying “step up” player. The Nuggets are going to have someone step up and perform well if this is to be close. Against the Grizzlies it was Corey Brewer who scored 26. Could it be Arron Afflalo? Brewer? Rudy Fernandez? Al Harrington? Kenneth Faried? There are a lot of candidates. It’s so hard to stop that guy that steps up because you didn’t prepare for it. He comes out of nowhere. And if the Nuggets are to hang with OKC, someone is going to have to do it.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Oh Kay See.