Oklahoma City Thunder (-6.5, 210.5 o/u) at Denver Nuggets
While injuries and mediocre play have plagued the Oklahoma City Thunder (26-25, 11-17 away) throughout much of the season, the team is still firmly in the playoff race in the Western Conference and are showing sings of consistency, with three wins in their last four. Tonight, the Thunder have a good chance to make it four out of five, as they travel to Denver to face the Nuggets (19-32, 12-13 home), losers of 12 of 13.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook remain the go-to guys in OKC, but it was Mitch McGary who came up huge in the Thunder’s 131-108 win over the Clippers last night. The rookie scored 19 points and added ten boards in the win.
McGary, who had various injuries that limited his season so far, is providing a spark to the Thunder.
“He plays with great energy and he’s got a good feel,” said guard Nick Collison. “It was really fun to see him. He’s had a tough go of it with injuries, but he was ready to go.”
Denver, meanwhile, is coming off of a dismal 98-88 loss in Detroit, where the Nuggets shot 38.8-percent from the floor. The squad is scoring only 88.2 PPG (and shooting 22-percent from three-point range) over its last handful of games.
Injuries and illness are an issue for the Brian Shaw-coached team. “We legitimately have five or six guys that are under the weather,” Shaw said. “We’re trying to hang on and keep battling. Hopefully, we can re-energize, reboot and give a better effort after the All-Star break.”
The Nuggets are hoping to avoid a six-game losing streak, but the Thunder may have other plans. Not only does the team expect the return of Kendrick Perkins from a one-game suspension (due to his head-butting of New Orleans’ Tyreke Evans last Friday), but power forward Serge Ibaka thrives against the Nuggets, scoring 45 points while adding 15 rebounds in his two games against Denver this season.
Sure, OKC is 3-7 ATS in its last ten games, but this Nuggets team is the epitome of struggling. Take the Thunder and lay the points (-6.5).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Kevin Durant) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)