The Oklahoma City Thunder will take on the Denver Nuggets for the first of four meetings this season tonight at the Chesapeake Arena.
The Nuggets got out of the gates slow this season but have since turned it on winning their last six games.
The Nuggets will be playing their second game in two nights tonight having beaten the Portland Trail Blazers in overtime last night.
Denver does it by committee as well as any team in the league. They have six players on the roster averaging double-figures in scoring with Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala leading the way.
The Nuggets are a team that has been torched in recent history by Kevin Durant who also happens to be torching any team he sees lately. Durant averaged 38.7 points per game over the last three Thunder games that were all road wins for OKC.
Iguodala is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league and has a history of forcing Durant to have tough shooting nights back to his Philadelphia days. Even a great defender like Iguodala is unlikely to slow down Durant if he keeps playing as well as he has of late.
Durant wasn’t alone in the Thunder’s last win over the Phoenix Suns. Durant scored 41 while Russell Westbrook added 36. Westbrook has also been shooting it well lately and was especially deadly from midrange in that Phoenix game.
Denver is top five in the league in pace so this game promises to be up and down with a lot of scoring. That may be a better sign for the Nuggets because the Thunder have found themselves winning recently because of defense and execution down the stretch.
The Thunder have been without Serge Ibaka for their last two games. Ibaka missed those games with a chest contusion and he is listed as day-to-day and will be a game-time decision tonight.
The Thunder could use their fourth leading scorer to return to the lineup while they try and keep up with Denver and pray for Kevin Martin to find his shooting stroke.
Denver came into this season with as much hype as almost any team in the Western Conference. Everyone has forgotten about that since their slow start but they are starting to show signs recently of why people thought so highly of them.
The Nuggets are one of the best teams in the conference right now and beating them even while at home will be no easy task for the Thunder. OKC will need to play well and make shots to get the job done tonight. They’ve been doing it lately but not against teams as talented as Denver.
The game will tip at 8 p.m. EST tonight.