Nuggets vs. Thunder Preview: Denver bench must continue dominance

Wilson Chandler drives to the lane, with a stiff arm, against Kevin Durant. - USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets travel to Oklahoma City to battle one of the leagues premier teams, in one of the more hostile environments. Nate Robinson is due for a big game, is tonight the night he swings the game in favor of the Nuggets?

Loading Scores
Game 10: 2013-14 NBA Season
Denver Nuggets (2009 - Pres)
@

Oklahoma City Thunder (2009 - Pres)

4-5 (1-3 road)
Series 0-0
6-3 (3-0 home)
November 18th 2013
Chesapeake Energy Arena - Oklahoma City, OK
6:00 PM MT
Altitude TV / 950 AM
Ty Lawson PG Russell Westbrook
Randy Foye SG Thabo Sefolosha
Wilson Chandler SF Kevin Durant
Kenneth Faried PF Serge Ibaka
J.J. Hickson C Kendrick Perkins
Notes
You're here! Blogs Welcome to Loud City
Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee (leg fracture) is out Injuries None
Denver's bench ranks 2nd in the NBA in points per game (46.0) and 1st in rebounds per game (21.0)
Stat Oklahoma City is shooting 82.3% from the free throw line, second best in the NBA


The Denver Nuggets look to return to winning form tonight in Oklahoma City against a Thunder team that rarely relinquishes victory on their home court. Winning at Chesapeake Energy Arena is difficult, but not impossible. Last year's Nuggets pulled off arguably their most impressive road win last season in this building on March 19, 2013, outscoring the Thunder 114-104 after defeating the Chicago Bulls in overtime the night before. This time the Nuggets will be more rested, but while Oklahoma City looks almost the same (minus Kevin Martin), we know all too well of the several top-down changes the Nuggets have experienced since their final match up last season.

I Am the Law!

Ty Lawson has historically been a slow starter in the first months of the season. He has put up All-Star worthy numbers in the second half of the past two seasons, but All-Star nods are based on first half performance and star power. This year Lawson is asserting himself as one of the top point guards in the NBA. He is one of only two players, Chris Paul being the other, to average 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists per game. In the Nuggets previous game, against Houston, Lawson became just the 10th player since 1997 to score 28+ points while dishing out 17+ assists in one game, the first since Derrick Rose on March 26, 2011. Ty's numbers, so far, have put him in rarefied air.

How Much Can You Bench, Brah?

The Nuggets bench has been dominant. They lead the league in rebounding and are 2nd in points per game. Timofey Mozgov is posting the best numbers of his career, averaging over 10 points and 5 rebounds per game. Wilson Chandler has averaged 15 ppg and 4 rpg through three games after returning from injury. Andre Miller has occasionally taken over games from multiple positions. These numbers still have room for growth as Nate Robinson has yet to find his groove with his new team.

The Thunder bench is led by veterans Derek Fisher and Nick Collison. Rookie Steven Adams has impressed early on. The Kiwi ranks 2nd among rookies in field goal percentage (50%) and blocks (1.22 bpg) and 4th in rebounding (5.2 rpg). Oklahoma City is still waiting for Jeremy Lamb to develop into a scoring threat, and until that happens OKC will be especially vulnerable when their starters take a breather.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2013 - Jeremy Lamb 9 18.7 3.0 7.8 38.6 1.3 3.4 38.7 1.0 1.0 100.0 0.2 1.9 2.1 1.1 0.6 0.7 0.3 1.8 8.3


Block Party

Serge Ibaka has led the league in blocks for the past three seasons. The only other player to do so was Dikembe Mutombo (1994-98). Oklahoma City averaged 8.17 bpg last season. This wasn't only good enough to lead the league in blocks, but it was the highest team average in nearly 20 years. The last team to block as many shots per game? The 1993-94 Denver Nuggets with 8.37 bpg. The Nuggets love to attack the basket, but Ibaka will make it more difficult to score down low than usual. Ibaka set a career high for blocks (11) in a game against Denver on Feb. 19, 2012.

Bold Prediction

Fashion icon and heel, Russell Westbrook, seems to lose his cool every time these teams meet. We haven't forgotten his antics from last season, goaltending Rocky's halftime reverse half-court shot. Tonight the Nuggets enforce their zero-tolerance approach toward bullying. Westbrook and Robinson erupt in different forms as the Denver bench leads the Nuggets to an upset victory.

What am I Drinking? North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner

Too many beer snobs discredit lagars and pilsners as styles unworthy of high regard. Order any of these lighter styles in a public setting and one exposes one's self to sneers and jeers. Scrimshaw commands the respect of all those knowledgeable on the subject of fine brews. It's like the freshman who gets invited to the senior parties. It is crisp and refreshing like one would expect, but its subtle hop character is a surprising feature that elevates it to the top of its class. Too often brewers stuff as much hops as possible into a beer. These extremely hoppy beers are like drinking a Michael Bay movie. I NEED MORE EXPLOSIONS!!! Scrimshaw reminds us that well balanced and delicately crafted beverages provide a more satisfying experience.

Let's Go Nuggets!

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