The Denver Nuggets (24-16) will face their biggest challenge since defeating the Los Angeles Clippers back on January 1st. They take on the Western Conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder (30-8) on the road tonight.
The Nuggets are coming off a spirited overtime victory against the Portland Trail Blazers and currently riding a six game win streak where they won fourstraight at home. They’re coming off a game where Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson, and Kenneth Faried all went over twenty points (Lawson and Faried both had double-doubles) and Wilson Chandler hit a clutch three pointer in overtime. Needless to say, the Nuggets have some momentum. They’re going to need more than momentum though to out-tough the Thunder on their home court. With Chandler playing well since returning from injury, Denver has a strong bench. Between Chandler, Corey Brewer, Andre Miller, and JaVale McGee, Denver has one of the strongest benches in the league.
For Oklahoma City, they will look to shut down guys like Gallinari and Faried by pressuring the ball on defense. Over their current four game winning streak, the Thunder have limited opponents to just 89.5 points per game. The Thunder’s gameplan is generally to put the ball in their superstar’s hands. That being the hands of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, both All-Stars. Durant is averaging just over 30 points per game in his last 10 games. Westrbook is averaging just under 25 points and 8 rebounds in his last 10. Sirge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins are the big uglies down low for OKC.
Denver’s game is to run the court, spread the ball around, and use their bench while OKC’s is to let their stars take over and carry them through. It should be fun to watch.
Matchup to Watch: Guards
Both teams have guards who can take over a game. Denver has Lawson, Gallinari, and Andre Iguodala. OKC has Westbrook and Kevin Martin. The guard play should be fun to watch between these two teams, particularly the point guard matchup. Both of these teams like to run and score buckets and to no one’s surprise it all filters through their strong guard play.
Tip off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MST (8:00 ET) from the Chesapeake Energy Arena.