Wednesday, January 16, 2013
1/16/2013 02:59:00 PM | Posted by Snottie Drippen | Edit Post
Let's take a sneak preview at the upcoming night of great basketball. So many games going on tonight that you've just GOT to tune in for: some are battles of the elite, some are just plain exciting. Here's the game to watch for:
Wednesday, January 16
Denver Nuggets (24-16) @ OKC Thunder (30-8)
Now THIS is the Nuggets team I was expecting when I predicted that they’d challenge for a top 3 spot in the West. After a disappointing 4-6 start, the Nugs have righted the ship, going 20-10 and seeming to find their missing intensity and camaraderie. Denver rolls into Oklahoma with a balanced attack and a 6 game win streak. OKC is just about as scorching, winners of 4 straight and 8-2 over their last 10.
It Boils Down To: Balance vs Star Power
Denver’s depth is deadly, with 9 guys averaging over 18 mpg, and less than 8 ppg separating it’s leading scorer (Danilo Gallinari at 16.7 ppg) and their 8th best (Wilson Chandler, back from hip surgery, is averaging 8.8 ppg in his 6 games this season). Ty Lawson (14. 4 ppg, 6.9 apg) has the jets to run with his fleet of long athletic wings and bigs . Lawson and 6’10” Gallinari, 6’8 Wilson Chandler, 6’9” Corey Brewer, and 6’6” Andre Iguodala will have their hands full trying to slow down OKC’s dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. KD and RW are combining for an incredible 51 ppg, 12.9 rpg, and 12.6 apg. Kevin Martin’s shooting (42.3% from 3, 14.9 ppg), Serge Ibaka’s rim protecting (8.4 rpg, 2.8 blks/g), Kendrick Perkin’s scowl, and Thabo Sefalosha’s defense are all vital, but they all orbit the devastating young 2 stars. As Durant and Russ go, so goes OKC.
What To Watch For:
Surly Westbrook and Ty Lawson both play with an edge: will Russ get caught up in going at Lawson and stray from the team dynamic? Can Iggy, Chandler, and Brewer stifle Durant’s offensive brilliance (28.9 ppg, flirting with 50%/40% from 3/90% from the free throw line)? Can Ibaka and Perkins keep young dynamo Kenneth Faried (12.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg, boundless energy) off the boards and keep up with him and Javale McGee (10.0 ppg, 1.9 blks/g) in transition? Will Ibaka (bruised chest) be able to go for OKC? Gallinari comes in averaging 20.8 ppg on 49.3%, 41% from 3, will Durant be able to shackle the versatile scorer?
My Call: Gonna be a barnburner- what’s better than 2 young, super-athletic squads that play above the rim and like bombing from deep? OKC has the best 2 players on the floor, and that’ll be the defining factor in the end.
Final Score: OKC 113, Denver 108.
Agree? Disagree? Think I’m full of $&@? Tell me why, either in the comments or on Twitter, @SnottieDrippen
NBA Playoffs 2013
- Third Round
- (2) SA Spurs vs (5) Memphis Grizzlies
- (1) Miami Heat vs (3) Indiana Pacers
- Second Round
- (1) Miami Heat vs (5) Chicago Bulls
- (2) NY Knicks vs (3) Indiana Pacers
- (1) OKC Thunder vs (5) Memphis Grizzlies
- (2) San Antonio Spurs vs (6) GS Warriors
- First Round
- (1) OKC Thunder vs (8) Houston Rockets
- (2) San Antonio Spurs vs (7) LA Lakers
- (3) Denver Nuggets vs (6) GS Warriors
- (4) LA Clippers vs (5) Memphis Grizzlies
- (1) Miami Heat vs (8) Milwaukee Bucks
- (2) New York Knicks vs (7) Boston Celtics
- (3) Indiana Pacers vs (6) Atlanta Hawks
- (4) Brooklyn Nets vs (5) Chicago Bulls