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Game thread: Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets

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Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder Storm the Pepsi Center tonight.

Doesn't Kanter look way too happy in this picture?
Doesn't Kanter look way too happy in this picture?
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Game 78 of the 2016 Denver Nuggets season features the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder, like the Nuggets, made a coaching change in the off season. They let go long time skipper Scott Brooks and replaced him with Billy Donovan - a man rife with NCAA championship pedigree, if lacking in any NBA coaching experience. So far this season, the results have been...mixed. The Thunder are still one of the dominant teams in the league (if overshadowed by the two historically great teams in the West: the Warriors and the Spurs). They have basically locked up the third seed in the conference after missing the playoffs last season (but let's not forget that Durant missed about a billion games - give or take a game - last year). In other words, the Thunder under Donovan have been really, really good.

With that being said, the Thunder were also really, really good under Brooks. It's amazing how having two of the top five (seven? four? ten?) players in the league will make your team a pretty darned good one right off the bat. For all that Brooks was maligned by the twitteratti about his unimaginative offensive sets, they won a whole lotta games under his stewardship. His firing was widely viewed through the lens of his offensive lack of creativity, even though the actual reasons he was let go aren't entirely clear. Donovan was brought in as coach to update the offense from the iso-heavy Brooks days. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Warriors crisp passing. It turns out having two of the best one on one players tends to make you, ya know, use them in those one on one situations. The Donovan offense has sure resembled what they did under Brooks. It will be interesting to see what happens next season, after he's had a year to establish himself...

...

...that is, if Durant is still there.

Oh, I don't expect the Nuggets to win this game, but I do expect them to put up a fight.