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Oklahoma City Thunder vs Denver Nuggets

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets really feel as if they've some payback to ship to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.
Payback for Russell Westbrook’s 36-foot dagger final April that eradicated the Nuggets from playoff rivalry. The shot gave the Thunder a 106-105 victory on the buzzer and put an exclamation level on his 42nd triple-double of the season, which set an NBA report.
Payback, too, for Westbrook’s flagrant-1 foul on Denver heart Nikola Jokic throughout a preseason recreation 4 weeks in the past.
The groups haven’t developed the animosity of the Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders rivalry but, however the seeds are there. However extra necessary to the Nuggets is profitable the final two video games of their season-high, six-game homestand and ending 5-1, and that effort begins Thursday in opposition to Oklahoma Metropolis.
“We set this purpose to go 6-Zero,” Jokic mentioned. “We’re not going to try this, however we have now two video games, left so we’re going to attempt to do our greatest to attain one thing.”
Denver (6-5) is perhaps catching the Thunder on the proper time. Oklahoma Metropolis (Four-6) has struggled in making an attempt to suit forwards Paul George and Carmelo Anthony round Westbrook, the reigning MVP. All three are averaging 20.1 factors, however inconsistency has been a problem, particularly in opposition to Western Convention groups.
The Thunder are Zero-5 in opposition to the West, and a loss to Denver can be the primary time they began a season with six straight losses throughout the convention. Their frustration rose in a loss at Portland on Sunday night time, and so they had been brazenly important of the referees after the sport.
The NBA fined Westbrook, George and coach Billy Donovan $15,000 apiece on Wednesday for his or her public criticism of the officiating.
Oklahoma Metropolis is coming off a 94-86 loss to the lowly Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, and afterward Westbrook vowed the Thunder can be higher.
“I take possession of how we’re taking part in, and I will likely be higher,” he mentioned after the loss to the Kings. “We will likely be higher, so I’m not apprehensive.”
Denver is perhaps the place for Oklahoma Metropolis to begin taking part in higher. The Thunder have received 5 straight at Pepsi Heart, courting again to Feb. 9, 2015. It's also a homecoming for Anthony, who performed his first 7 half of seasons in Denver earlier than being traded to the New York Knicks.
He has been again a number of occasions, so the novelty of his return has worn off, however this time he's coming again as a Northwest Division rival.
Anthony was the franchise participant from the second Denver chosen him with the third total decide within the 2003 NBA Draft. When he left, the mannequin modified to a deeper workforce with no famous person. It labored for a few seasons however ended after the Nuggets received a franchise-record 57 video games in 2012-13 however flamed out within the playoffs.
Now, nevertheless, there's a new younger star — Jokic. He isn’t the prolific, constant scorer Anthony was, however he's at the least his equal on protection and he's a greater rebounder and passer. He stuffs the field rating, and he can put up factors when wanted, such because the career-high 41 he dropped in a 112-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
The way forward for the Nuggets meets the previous, and Denver is pleased with what it has.
“This man can do all of it,” coach Michael Malone mentioned of Jokic.
Jokic is also beginning to mesh with energy ahead Paul Millsap, who signed as a free agent over the summer time.
“It’s all the time a getting-to-know course of when you implement a brand new man like myself right into a system,” Millsap mentioned after scoring 17 in opposition to the Nets. “We be ok with it. We really feel extra snug, I really feel extra snug.”
The Thunder are nonetheless understanding the kinks with their three stars, and Thursday will likely be one other likelihood for them to succeed in the identical degree as Jokic and Millsap. The Tuesday loss was simply one other step.
“It (stinks) to drop video games like this,” George mentioned after the defeat in Sacramento. “After we look again down the highway in March and April and we have a look at these losses, we’ll be fairly sick about it. However this isn't after we wish to be taking part in our greatest basketball.”

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