Thunder-Nuggets Should Be a Fun Series

The Oklahoma City Thunder players and coaches technically have the day off, but make no mistake there’s plenty of work being done.

Most of the players routinely show up at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Training Center on off days to put some shots up, work on moves with coaches, look at game tape and work on the weights. That will be no different today. Coaches are pouring over game tape also, dissecting the Nuggets tendencies down to the smallest flaw.

“We know what they do and they’re gonna know what we do,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks after last night’s regular season finale. “We understand they’re very good and very physical. It’s going to be a very intense, tough-minded playoff series.”

Both the Thunder and the Nuggets lost their last games of the regular season. Oklahoma City lost at home to Milwaukee and played the starters limited minutes. Denver lost on the road to Utah by doing much the same thing.

The focus now is clearly on each other.

“It’s going to be tough,” admitted Thunder two-time All Star Kevin Durant. “It’s going to be a long series. Both teams are going to grind it out. They are physical and they play hard, but we look forward to that challenge.”

“We just have to worry about our personality of being aggressive and playing intense and playing together,” Nuggets Head Coach George Karl told reporters after his team’s loss in Utah. “My whole thing is I don’t think there’s a dominating favorite team in the West. I give the Lakers the benefit of the doubt, but they’re struggling. I think Oklahoma City, Portland and we are playing as well as some of the teams ahead of us.”

The Nuggets love to run. They finished the regular season as the NBA’s highest scoring team (107.4). The Thunder finished fifth (104.8) so whichever team can slow the others transition game will get a boost towards a series win.

“It’s important for us to know they score in transition a lot,” reminded Thunder shooting guard Daequan Cook. “We know they are a quick team and they can get it out and run. So it’s important for us to key in on those things. A big part of their game is knowing they are top five in fast breaks we have to make sure we know and get hold of that.”

The Thunder won the season series with the Nuggets 3-1, the last two wins coming just days apart last week, one in Denver the other inside Oklahoma City Arena. Those two wins have given the Thunder a nice confidence boost heading into the series.

“I can tell our team is a lot more relaxed now,” said Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha, “The confidence right now is high, so it’s definitely a good thing.”

Veteran Nick Collison advises not to read too much into what happened during the regular season though, “It’s not going to matter who has home court or anything else. All that happened in the past. It’s going to be about what’s going on at tip-off and that’s where our minds are going to be.”