Thunder Expects Nuggets' Best Tonight in Game 3

DENVER -- The venue has changed, but the Thunder's approach to Game 3 tonight has not. It's business as usual for the men in blue.

"We know we're up 2-0, but we can't be happy about that," Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. "We have to focus all our attention, effort, energy and teamwork toward Game 3.

"We understand that we did our job. Now they have to do their job."

The Thunder has done its "job" especially well in the past two months. The Thunder is 21-5 since March and has beaten the Nuggets four times in April, including a 101-94 victory in Denver on April 5. That was the Nuggets' only loss on their home court in their last 12 games.

"They've beaten us four in a row. I don't think they're 4-0 better than we are, but we'll find out," Nuggets Coach George Karl said.

"What's there not to feel good about? We get an opportunity to re-prove ourselves, to re-identify who we are. We're getting smarter, tactically a little better and we have the home court in our pocket."

The Pepsi Center is not friendly to visiting teams. Denver was 33-8 on its home court; only Chicago (36-5) and San Antonio (36-5) had a better record at home. The Thunder's April 5 win was its first in eight games played in Denver. But that was the regular season, a fact Thunder forward Kevin Durant stressed on Friday.

"There's a lot of stuff on the line in this Game 3. We feel confident in our game plan and how we play, but that game a few weeks ago doesn't mean anything," Durant said.

Said Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin: “You all get caught up in numbers and history and the way series have gone in the past. That's all you guys do. You all look at numbers. We play basketball, so all we got to do is go out and get Game 3. That’s all we’re concerned about.”

Another area of concern, at least for the Nuggets, is rebounding. The Thunder holds a 91-65 edge in rebounds through the first two games.

Of the 10 Thunder players who saw playing time in Game 2, nine had at least one rebound. Thunder big men Serge Ibaka (12 rebounds), Kendrick Perkins (11) and Nick Collison (8) combined for 31 of the Thunder's 54 rebounds in Game 2 and Thunder guards Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden, Eric Maynor and Daequan Cook accounted for 18.

"Rebounding is a commitment more than it is a technical set of fundamental skills," Karl said. "I thought we got hurt in all different ways of rebounding. ... We got hurt because we got outworked."

The Nuggets are hoping the return of guard Arron Afflalo will help slow down the Thunder's 1-2 punch of Durant and Russell Westbrook, who have combined for 116 points in the first two games. Afflalo, the Nuggets' best defender, sat out the first two games in the series with a strained hamstring and will likely start tonight.

"I'm not going to stop either one by myself," Afflalo said. "It's going to be a team effort. But I'll use my ability to try to take advantage of them in the ways that I can."

Game time is 9 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

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