Preview 30 of 82: Nuggets @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (14-15) returns home to Chesapeake Energy Arena for a Monday night match-up with the Denver Nuggets (16-13). It will be the second contest between the Northwest Division rivals and the first game of a three-game home stand for the Thunder. OKC is currently favored by five points according to ESPN.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CT on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
- Steven Adams: Out — Concussion
- Paul Millsap: Out — Wrist
- Emmanuel Mudiay: Questionable — Ankle
Probable Starting Five
Denver: Jamaal Murray, Gary Harris, Torrey Craig, Wilson Chandler, Nikola Jokic
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Nov. 9: DEN 102, OKC 94 [BOX SCORE]
No Steven. Steven Adams will miss his second consecutive game after entering the NBA’s concussion protocol over the weekend. Dakari Johnson figures to again draw the start, with Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson seeing a boost in playing time. Patterson is shooting 59 percent from downtown over the last six games and is the one to watch.
Mudiay/Nuggets Rotation. Emmanuel Mudiay is unlikely to play due to a sprained ankle — good news for OKC, as he lit up the Thunder for 21 points on 8/10 shooting on November 9. Malik Beasley will see an increase in minutes and Will Barton will assume a “play making role” according to TJ McBride of Mile High Sports.
The Denver Attack. Denver has the eight-best offense in the NBA, averaging 107.9 points per game. Gary Harris leads the team in scoring at 16.1 PPG, but the stars may have aligned for Nikola Jokic. The big man is averaging 15.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG and will enjoy a Thunder defense that lacks Steven Adams.
Free Throw Woes. The free throw line is a scary place for both teams — Denver is 25th in the NBA at 73.5 percent and OKC comes in second to last at 70 percent. Whoever can get to the stripe and convert more frequently will have an obvious leg up.
Sometimes OK 3: Denver’s defense surrenders 107.5 points per game and allows opposing offenses to shoot 48.1 percent from the field — highest in the NBA. The Thunder’s scoring burden will again fall on Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony — which is great in theory but recently terrible in application. All three men are shooting below 40 percent in the month of December, combining for a 36.6 percent clip in nine games. They will need to get something going in order to win, particularly in Steven Adams’ absence.