Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets
Tip-off: Friday, March 1, 2013 – 10:30 PM ET
Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
Even when the Oklahoma City Thunder score more than any other team in the NBA, YouWager experts consider that it’s possible that their improving defense might just be the difference in their title chase.
Tonight the Thunder will face a difficult challenge defense-wise when they visit the Denver Nuggets, whose high-octane attack has been bolstered by Ty Lawson’s emergence as a dynamic scorer.
The Thunder (42-15) lead the NBA with 106.8 points per game while the Nuggets has moved up to third (105.5) while averaging 112.6 during its current 13-4 surge.
A season-worst three-game losing streak is far behind for Oklahoma City, who has since won three in row by an average of 30.3 points. As outstanding as the offense has been during that span, averaging 116.0 points, the NBA odds suggest that their defense has been just as good in the last two games as opponents averaged 73.0 points on 31.9 percent shooting.
The Thunder matched their largest margin of win this season and held a rival below 75 points for the third time last month.
Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 29 while Kevin Durant posted his second triple-double since the All-Star break with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Durant tied a basketball season low with eight field-goal attempts and had fewer than 20 points for the third time in four games, a stretch during which the 24 year-old has averaged 11.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists.
Derek Fisher did not score on 0-for-4 shooting in his first game with Oklahoma City after signing with them for the stretch run for the second straight season. Ronnie Brewer had five points in 12 minutes in his debut after being acquired in a trade with the New York Knicks.
Oklahoma City has dropped four of five away from home and now visit Denver who is one of the NBA’s best at home, winning nine in a row and 14 of 15.
The Nuggets (37-22) have surpassed 110 points in four straight overall as Lawson continues score. The Maryland native has at least 20 points in eight consecutive games, the longest such streak of his career. The point guard is averaging 26.1 points on 52.8 percent shooting over that span but hasn’t stopped making plays for teammates, with his 8.0 assists per game surpassing his season mark of 7.1.
This season series has seen each team come out victorious on its home floor, including a 121-118 Nuggets win in overtime Jan. 20. Lawson totaled 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting in those two games.
According to the NBA point spread, over the last five basketball games, Durant is averaging 32.8 points and Westbrook is at 32.2.