NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 17th (All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (19-4) at Denver Nuggets (14-9), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will play four of their next six games on the road, starting with Tuesday's showdown with the Northwest Division-rival Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
The Thunder are 7-4 on the road and will leave the friendly confines of Chesapeake Energy Arena, where they are a sizzling 12-0 this season. They remained unbeaten at home with Sunday's 101-98 victory over the Orlando Magic and fended off a late rally by the guests, who had a 27-18 advantage in the fourth quarter.
"Our defense was up and down all night and we didn't do a good job executing down the stretch," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Tonight we had three or four spurts where we locked down (on defense). The rest of the time we were just hoping they'd miss."
NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant (28.5 ppg) scored 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists. Russell Westbrook had 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, while Jeremy Lamb scored 16 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which has won six straight and 14 of 15 games.
The Thunder outscored the Magic in the paint by a 50-30 margin.
Denver will continue its four-game homestand Tuesday and evened its record on the stay at 1-1 with Sunday's 102-93 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Wilson Chandler and J.J. Hickson netted 19 points apiece with Hickson pulling down 11 rebounds. Nate Robinson scored 14 points off the bench and both Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson had 12 points for the Nuggets, who have won 10 of their last 13 games and are 7-3 in the Rockies.
"Once we get it rolling, it's going to be dangerous; it's going to be scary for teams to play us," a confident Robinson claimed.
The Nuggets are 14-6 since an 0-3 start and will close out the homestand Friday versus the Phoenix Suns.
Denver and Oklahoma City will play the second of four meetings this season and are scheduled to clash on Jan. 9 and March 24. The Thunder posted a 115-113 win on Nov. 18 in the OKC and were led by Durant's game-high 38 points. Westbrook scored 30 points with 12 rebounds and seven assists in that one for Oklahoma City, which ended a three-game slide to the Nuggets.
Oklahoma City has lost nine of 11 and 11 of its last 14 at the Pepsi Center.
12/17 10:35:53 ET