Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
An exhausted Nuggets team didn't come to play against the Thunder tonight and were handled easily from start to finish.
Well, that was an ugly if not unexpected loss. Tonight, the Nuggets showed the effects of having played an overtime game against the Blazers the night before and the fourth game in
five six nights, while the Thunder looked like a team resting since Monday with an 18-3 home record. This game was garbage time from the end of the first onward.
In my preview of tonight's game, I mentioned that while the Nuggets could have a shot at winning if they managed to contain Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant, but tonight they could barely contain a bumbling Kendrick Perkins. Westbrook and Durant destroyed the sluggish perimeter defense of the Nuggets tonight with lightning quick cuts to the hoop through the paint, and the game was never really in doubt from the tip. After the Thunder jumped out to a 7-0 lead, the Nuggets simply folded up the powder blue and gold tent.
Although JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos each had respectable games, the Nuggets were simply unable to stay with the Thunder's energy on either end of the floor. Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala and Kenneth Faried looked as if they played any slower they might have started aging backwards. The Nuggets poor three point shooting and defense remains a concern, despite a much improved (by their standards) night from the free throw line.
Due to precautionary back to back restrictions, the Nuggets chose to rest Wilson Chandler, who has played excellent ball in the two games since his return from hip surgery. Although I'm certain he would have provided fresher legs and better defense than... whatever it was Andre Iguodala and the rest of the Nuggets did tonight, I don't believe for one second that he would have significantly impacted the outcome of this one.
Not too much more to say about this game tonight - the Nuggets were playing on the second night of a back to back away, against the best team in the league, after an overtime victory at home late, on the fourth game in
5 6 nights, through a typically-OKC lopsided home whistle. While I'm disappointed that the team didn't show more pride in keeping the game close, I can understand that this was a "schedule loss" and I'm not reading too much into it. You shouldn't either.
Yet the Nuggets will need to take this one personally. This was Oklahoma City simply clowning an overmatched Nuggets squad. If the Nuggets want to win when they play OKC in Denver four days from now, they would be well served to remember the beatdown they got handed to them tonight.
Opposition's Take: Welcome to Loud City