Game Preview: Nuggets Set for Showdown with Thunder
DENVER, Colo. - The Denver Nuggets are looking to stay undefeated in the Northwest Division tonight as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets and Thunder met less than a month ago in Oklahoma City as the Nuggets came away with a 105-98 victory on the road.
The Nuggets come in to tonight’s game with an 18-9 record and sitting in first place in the Western Conference. The Nuggets have had three days without a game, their longest stretch since October. The Nuggets snapped a two-game losing streak in their last game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday as they pulled out a 105-99 victory. Nikola Jokić and Monte Morris led the way for the Nuggets with 27 and 20 points each.
While the Nuggets are in first place, the Thunder are closing in as they sit just a half game back of the Nuggets at 17-9. The Thunder fell in New Orleans on Wednesday to the Pelicans, 118-114.
Here is what to watch for tonight:
Stopping OKC’s dynamic-duo: Paul George and Russell Westbrook lead the charge for the Thunder as a pair of dynamic playmakers that can cause trouble for any defense. George averages 24.3 points per game for the Thunder while Westbrook averages a triple-double with 22 points, 10.3 rebounds and 10 assists on a nightly basis. The duo is just as troublesome on the defensive end as Paul George leads the league in steals per game at 2.2 a night while Westbrook averages 2.1 steals.
The Denver bench: Monte Morris was outstanding for the Nuggets in the win over the Grizzlies on Monday, tying a career-high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. The Nuggets’ newest signing, Nick Young, didn’t see any court time on Wednesday but a new face did find minutes in the rotation. With the Nuggets shorthanded Tyler Lydon checked in for a brief stint in the first half.
The Nuggets shut down Westbrook in the first matchup, holding the former MVP to just 16 points on 6-23 shooting and 1-12 from three-point range.
Keeping the Thunder off the offensive boards: The Thunder are tied for first in the league in offensive rebounding, averaging 12.8 boards a night. The Thunder translate that into 16 points a game, the second-best output in the league.
Tonight’s game tips off at 8 p.m. MT and will air on ESPN and Altitude TV as well as the AltitudeNOW app. Fans can listen on Altitude Radio, 92.5 FM.