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Thunder Game Day No. 11: at Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City Thunder (4-6, 2-4 away) vs. Denver Nuggets (6-5, 4-2 home)

Thursday, Nov. 9 :: 9:30 p.m. CST :: Pepsi Center (19,155)

TV: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 1-point favorite. The over/under is 214½.
Notes: Thunder: here | Nuggets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • It’s not time to burn down the city yet. However, the Thunder come to Denver on a three-game losing streak.
  • On the other hand, the Nuggets are feeling themselves as they’ve won three of the last four games.
  • Last season, the Thunder beat the Nuggets three-out-of-four times.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Tonight’s game is on TNT only. Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Ros Gold-Onwude calling the action
  • You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for game updates.

SCOUTING THE Nuggets

  • The Denver Nuggets are 6-5 in the regular season, that’s good enough for eighth in the Western Conference.
  • Last season, Denver finished a lowly 40-42, ninth in the West.
  • All-time against the Nuggets, Oklahoma City is 97-76.
  • Since relocation, the Thunder are 20-16 against Denver and have won 11 of their last 13.
  • Oklahoma City has won five straight at the Pepsi Center and are 7-9 all-time on the road vs. Denver.
  • Last season, the Thunder went 3-1 vs. Denver, their loss ended a nine-game win streak against Denver.
  • Juan Hernangomez (illness) is still out.
  • Denver beat the Nets 112-104 on Tuesday night for their third win in four games.

Thunder don’t do well against Sacramento

  • Recap
  • Despite going up on the Kings 25-10 in the first quarter, the Thunder was outscored 57-32 across the second and third.
  • Oklahoma City came within 3 points of Sacramento with 16.4 seconds remaining, but were unable to close the gap.
  • Oklahoma City produced 19 points off of 23 Sacramento turnovers while generating 16 steals.
  • The Thunder outscored the Kings in second chance points 18-5 and logged their ninth game of the season to win the fast break battle 8-4.
  • Russell Westbrook recorded a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds along with 6 assists and 3 steals.
  • Jerami Grant paced the Oklahoma City reserves with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting and 6 rebounds.

NEW FACES

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder added a bunch of new faces this year.
  • Paul George was acquired on June 30 for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • Carmelo Anthony joins the Thunder after Oklahoma City sent Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knicks for Anthony.
  • Oklahoma City also signed Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson via free agency.
  • Terrance Ferguson was drafted in the first round out of Australia.
  • Oklahoma City also added PJ Dozier, undrafted rookie out of South Carolina to a two-way deal.

OK3

  • The trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony combined for 5,992 total points last season, which is the most by any other set of three teammates in the league this year. They are followed by Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler (5,810 combined points) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas, LeBron James and Derrick Rose (5,307 combined points).

Anthony moving up the ranks

  • Carmelo Anthony currently ranks 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,357 points) and fourth among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Vince Carter.
  • Anthony is also one of six players in league history alongside Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to record 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 three-point field goals.

Top of the Class

  • The Thunder is set to take on the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night as they wrap up a three-game road trip before returning home for the second night of a back-to-back on Friday when they host the Los Angeles Clippers.
  • Oklahoma City currently holds the fourth-largest point differential in the league (5.9). The Thunder is also ranked second in the league with a defensive rating of 96.9 behind Boston (95.9).

Turnover a New Leaf

  • Through the first ten games of the season, Oklahoma City leads the league in both steals per game (10.60) and opponent turnovers per game (19.0).
  • The Thunder has yet to finish within the Top 5 in the NBA in these categories since they moved to Oklahoma City as their previous season bests were 8.28 steals per game in 2012-13 and 15.2 opponent turnovers per game in 2013-14.
  • Additionally, the Thunder tops the NBA leaderboard for deflections per game (19.2) and forced turnovers on 19.6% of opponent possessions, which tops the league.
  • Paul George ranks first in the league in deflections per game (4.8) and in steals per game (2.40)

Adamsant Scorer

  • Steven Adams currently ranks second in the league in field goal percentage (.676, 48-71 FG).
  • On Oct. 27 at Minnesota, Adams went 8-for-8 through the third quarter, which is his personal best start from the field.
  • As a point of reference, the Thunder record from the floor is held by Serge Ibaka when he went 12-for-12 on 1/31/14.
  • He has scored in double figures in six of the first seven games and led the team in rebounding four times while posting four double-doubles.

Injury Report

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are relatively healthy at this point.

Still good odds

  • According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the sixth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • They have the fourth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.

Next Up

  • On Friday, the Oklahoma City returns home to play the Clippers on Fri., Nov. 10.
  • Then, the Thunder host the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, Nov. 12.

Three Keys to the Game

Rebound

Denver is one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA, ranking 12th. The Thunder are on the other end, ranked 21st. We’ve seen Oklahoma City go 3-0 when out rebounding their opponent but are a killer 0-5 when they get out rebounded. Get rebounds, get wins. It’s that simple.

Share the ball

Like rebounding, sharing the ball can be key. Oklahoma City is a cool 4-2 when Russell Westbrook has 10 or more assists. If the MVP gets 10, you might as well chalk up a W tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t try to do it all tonight.

Get to the foul line

At only 19.4 attempts per game, the Thunder rank 25th in free throw attempts. It doesn’t help Russell Westbrook has struggled from the line in the first two games. Westbrook is 34-of-56 (60.7 percent) this season. He was 2-of-7 in the loss to Portland. Westbrook is a career 82.2 percent free throw shooter. The Thunder (and Russ) have to get to the line more.

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