Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

OKC Thunder (32-8) vs. Denver Nuggets (24-18) Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets will play the second of four meetings this season tonight at 8 p.m. EST at the Pepsi Center.

The Thunder won the first meeting just four days ago in Oklahoma City 117-97. That game was one of the Thunder’s best complete games of the year as they blew out the Nuggets from the tip.

Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting. Westbrook scored 16 of his points in the first quarter as his pull-up jumper was on point.

Kevin Durant scored 20 points and also had five steals in the game. Kevin Martin scored 20 points off the bench on 8-of-12 shooting.

The Thunder shot 51.8 percent from the field as a team and got 15 offensive rebounds.

Denver wasn’t horrible shooting 45.2 percent from the field but went just 2-for-15 from downtown. They also only had 11 offensive rebounds despite being the best offensive rebounding team in the league in terms of offensive rebound rate.

Ty Lawson only played 20 minutes in the game and went 1-of-4 from the field. Danilo Gallinari went 3-for-10 from the field and scored just 11 points.

The lone bright spot for the Nuggets was the play of their centers Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee who combined to shoot 11-for-12 from the field and score 31 points.

The Thunder have won their last six games will the Nuggets have dropped their last two, vs. OKC then two nights ago at home to the Washington Wizards.

OKC has been playing at a very high level led by Durant who scored a career-high 52 points in the Thunder’s last game, an overtime win on the road vs. the Dallas Mavericks. Durant’s previous career-high was 51 points which he scored in an overtime victory vs. the Denver Nuggets last season.

Playing in Denver is tougher than playing in Oklahoma City. The altitude is a factor and especially while on a road trip it can get the best of you. The Nuggets are 15-3 at home this season.

Martin has not shot well on the road either this year and that fact may be amplified tonight in Denver.

Another player that needs to step up for the Thunder during this road trip is Serge Ibaka. Ibaka has only averaged 7.0 points per game over his last four games. He only scored five points in 27 minutes vs. the Nuggets last week.

Tonight’s game promises to be closer than the one between these teams last week was. The Thunder have been playing at a very high level lately though while the Nuggets haven’t so OKC should still be able to pull this one out.

Tags: Denver Nuggets Oklahoma City Thunder

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