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The Healthy Denver Nuggets Take On The MASH Unit Oklahoma City Thunder

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In a complete swap of injury fortunes from last year, the Thunder and Nuggets meet for the first time on Saturday night.

Edited by Joanna Nesgoda

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Game 2: 2014-15 NBA Season
@

0-2 (0-0 at home)
Series 0-0
1-0 (0-0 away)
Nov. 1, 2014
Chesapeake Energy Arena - Oklahoma City, OK
6:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Sebastian Telfair PG Ty Lawson
Andre Roberson SG Arron Afflalo
Perry Jones SF Danilo Gallinari
Serge Ibaka PF Kenneth Faried
Steven Adams C Timofey Mozgov
Notes
Welcome to Loud City Blogs Denver Stiffs
It's actually quicker to list the healthy bodies, but just to list names that will not play: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary and Grant Jerrett
Injuries NONE! (Hickson will be serving game 2 of 5 of his suspension) 
Perry Jones scored 32 points against the Clippers on Thursday. Etc... Denver last won in OKC on March 19, 2013.  


It has been a long time since the Thunder have been a home underdog and that is exactly what is happening on Saturday night when the Nuggets roll into OKC as a seven point favorite.

The Thunder are only going to be suiting up eight healthy players for this game, one of which is a point guard (that being Telfair).  The only other true guard on the roster is Andre Roberson, but no one knows if he can play any point. Perry Jones might be able to do so, but you definitely will not see Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, Nick Collison, Lance Thomas or Kendrick Perkins bringing the ball up the court.

The Nuggets are going to be able to throw everyone they want at the Thunder and keep fresh legs on the floor at all times.  Only J.J. Hickson will miss the game (suspension) while Nate Robinson and JaVale McGee are on a minutes restriction.   That shouldn't matter much though in terms of this game.

Key Matchup: Nuggets vs. Complacency

Just because the Thunder are down seven guys (including their top two scorers) it doesn't mean they are going to just roll over and die.  This is OKC's home opener, and they are going to feed off the fans and they are going to leave it all out on the court.

The Nuggets have to do what the Clippers were unable to do on Thursday night.  They need to withstand the energy from OKC in the first few minutes of the game and then rip out their throat.  OKC does not have the talent to hang with the Nuggets and the Nuggets can't let them hang around, nor allow them to make a comeback.

Denver needs to end this, end this early and keep the Thunder from getting back up.

Run and Press

Brian Shaw is going to have to take advantage of his speed, athleticism and depth.  As stated before, the Nuggets need to put the Thunder down early and keep them down.  There isn't a single player on the Thunder roster that can create his own shot and Telfair is extremely turnover prone.  Shaw needs to ratchet up the pressure, throw in some full court and half court traps and make the Thunder guards work extra hard to bring the ball up the court.  There are only two of them.  Punish them.

In the same form, Lawson and company need to run off every missed shot and every made basket.  Push, push, and push.  Never let up.

Take Advantage

With Westbrook being out into December and Durant being out until January or maybe a bit longer, the Nuggets need to take advantage of this stretch, put some wins together and put as much distance between themselves and the Thunder as possible right now.  Yes, there are 80 games after this one and it is a long season, but seriously every game matters.

There can't be situations after this game where the Nuggets drop winnable games to the Kings, Jazz or even this Thunder team in 15 days.  The Nuggets do not have the easiest close to the season, whereas the Thunder have three of their final four games of the season against teams not expected to make the playoffs.

Prediction

I am going to go out on a limb and say the Nuggets win this one easily, 114-76.