OKC Thunder (32-10, 14-7 road) at Denver Nuggets (24-19, 13-10 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.2 (2nd), Nuggets– 107.9 (6th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.8 (13th), Nuggets – 105.1 (19th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.3 (5th), Nuggets – 94.7 (1st)
View from the enemy: Roundball Mining Company
Now that the trade deadline is out of the way, it’s back to your regularly scheduled programming. And in the Thunder’s case, they needed this game. Because the last one they played was an ugly, frustrating, terrible home loss to the Rockets. Now they travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets, a team with whom Oklahoma City doesn’t exactly have a soft spot for.
The thing is, it’s a new Nuggets team this time around as they traded starting center Nene today for JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf (who obviously aren’t with the team yet). So that’ll be interesting.
Denver coming in: The Nuggets played Tuesday winning in overtime against Atlanta.
Three Big Things
1. Now returning. The Nuggets played the Thunder really well in OKC last time and did it without maybe their best player, Danilo Gallinari. He’s back now and looks solid. He gives the Nuggets an extra scoring option, makes their quality ball movement more dangerous and is another body to throw at KD. Plus, OKC gets Thabo back, so we’ll see how Brooks manages that and how rusty he might be.
2. Perk v. Nene. Oh yeah, wait. That’s not happening. So it’s Kosta Koufos (who torched Perk in transition last time) and Chris Anderson. It could be the type of night that the Thunder go small and play Serge Ibaka a lot at the 5, which is what happened in the 124-118 wild win in OKC.
3. Transition defense. Denver completely smoked OKC in transition last time, scoring at will in the first half off made baskets. Ty Lawson is a one man secondary break on his own, so the Thunder hustling back and being careful on the offensive glass is very important. Otherwise, Denver will get a bunch of easy baskets. OKC wants this to be a fourth quarter game where Westbrook and Durant take it over, not something where they’re trying to play catch up.
Tip at 8 p.m. CT. Go Good Guys.