Western Conference 1st Rouns Matchup: Thunder vs. Nuggets

Posted by By at 16 April, at 19 : 27 PM Print

 

First Round Playoff Matchup – Western Conference

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder 55-27 vs. (6) Denver Nuggets 50-32

When this season began, we knew one thing about The Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets.  They were both Playoff bound teams, yet both were missing a piece of their puzzle.

For The Nuggets, that piece was ridding themselves of the Carmelo Anthony Drama.  It hung over their heads through the off-season and the first half of the Regular Season up until his eventual trade to The New York Knicks.  Nuggets General Manager Masai Ujiri was working hard to make a deal that would benefit Denver not only for this season but for years to come.  It turns out Ujiri pulled off quite the blockbuster.  With one swift move, The Nuggets were Melo free and a much deeper team with the arrivals of Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari.

For The Thunder, they were coming off of a season of triumphs that for the most part were un-expected.  They finished with over 50 wins and pushed The Lakers to a tough 6 game playoff series where many lessons were learned.  The main lesson that was learnt is the apparent hole on defense they had and the missing aggression that is needed come Playoff time.  GM Sam Presti answered this need with 2 trade day deals that brought Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to OKC in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic and Nazr Mohammed for D.J. White and Morris Peterson.  These two deals brought in what Presti felt were the missing pieces in order to give The Thunder toughness down low and the ability to matchup with the other Western Conference Big Men.

Player Stat Leaders:

PPG
Nuggets: Gallinari – 14.7ppg
Thunder: Durant – 27.7ppg

RPG
Nuggets: Nene – 7.6rpg
Thunder: Perkins – 7.9rpg

APG
Nuggets: Felton –  6.5apg
Thunder: Westbrook – 8.2apg

As the 2nd half of the season wore on, it was clear that both of these deals were huge successes for both squads.  With The Thunder finishing 4th in The West and continuing on their success from last year, and The Nuggets finishing 5th in The West, it was clear that the trade of Melo to The Knicks was the best move they could have made and Kendrick Perkins is what was missing from the OKC Frontcourt.

The Thunder finished off the season 19-7 with 6 of those losses less than 8 points.  With the additions down low, OKC has shown the NBA that they are no longer just a young high flying team.  OKC has one of the most dynamic rosters in the league in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and James Harden. With their Starting 5 on the court and James Harden coming off of the bench The Thunder are an offensive juggernaut with Durant capable of putting up 30 points a night without blinking an eye and also can slow the game down defensively as they lock down on D.  At no time during the year did The Thunder lose more than 3 straight games and heading into the Playoffs it’s clear that they don’t intend on doing this anytime soon.

The Nuggets went on an unexpected run following the trade of Carmelo Anthony.  Finishing 17-7, Denver surprised the league as The Nuggets boast one of the deepest rosters in the NBA.  With 2 very capable Point Guards in Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton, a gluten of wing players in Gallinari, Chandler, Smith and Affalo and an electrifying front court in Nene, Birdman and Kenyon Martin.  This team is a highlight reel in waiting and will look to use its depth to push the Thunder to the limit.

Season Series Scores:

12/25/10 – Oklahoma City 114 vs. Denver 106
01/19/11 – Oklahoma City 107 vs. Denver 112
04/05/11 – Oklahoma City 101 vs. Denver 94
04/08/11 – Oklahoma City 104 vs. Denver 89

Player Matchups:
PG: Russell Westbrook vs. Ty Lawson
SG: Thabo Sefolosha vs. Aaron Affalo
SF:  Kevin Durant vs. Wilson Chandler
PF: Kenyon Martin vs. Serge Ibaka
C: Kendrick Perkins vs. Nene

TELEVISION SCHEDULE:

GAME 1 at OKC, Sun. April 17, 9:30 p.m., TNT
GAME 2 at OKC, Wed. April 20, 8 p.m., TNT
GAME 3 at DEN, Sat. April 23, 10 p.m., ESPN
GAME 4 at DEN, Mon. April 25, 10:30 p.m., TNT
GAME 5 at OKC, Wed. April 27, If Necessary
GAME 6 at DEN, Fri. April 29, If Necessary
GAME 7 at OKC, Sun. May 1, If Necessary

If the Regular Season was an indication of what we can expect in the Playoffs, than this series is sure to be quite the nail biter.  These 2 teams don’t like each other.  As seen in the April games, it will get very heated with both teams pushing it to the limit.  Both teams are relatively young squads with fast and electrifying players.  Expect for some highlight reel dunks and high scoring games as this series should go to at least 6 games.  With OKC having home-court advantage, the series should be controlled by Durant and co.

Whatever the outcome of the series, look for a fun energetic series filled with replay worthy plays and some intense moments on an

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2 Comments

  1. Al Bidniz, 6 years ago Reply

    Bowse you crazy man?? THe nuggets will supriuse a few peeps out der

    • Bowse, 6 years ago Reply

      Need to disagree with you. Denver has depth, but no #1 go to guy to finish off games! Thunder have Westbrook and Durant!


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