Before the season began, nobody could have predicted that the Oklahoma City Thunder will be traveling to Colorado at this point of the season with a superior record (6-6) than the Denver Nuggets (6-7). But then again, that’s the sheer unpredictable nature of the NBA.
Date: 19th January’21, 6 pm PT
Venue: Pepsi Center, Denver
There are a lot of expectations on this team after they surprised spectators with their play in the Bubble. But so far, they have flattered to deceive. Though it does not help their cause that Michael Porter Jr. has been out for so long. His prolonged absence has been because of the league’s strict health and safety protocols. Naturally, he is set to miss this one out as well.
Nikola Jokic has been their rock this season while others around him far too inconsistent. He is astonishingly averaging a triple-double this one. Hence, his 25 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 10.3 assists have put him in MVP contention.
But personal goals aside, Mike Malone & Co. have to come together as a cohesive unit. Also, Murray has been playing every game this season, but the coach can’t afford to rest him for this one. The minimum target for them is Top 8, and a win here can kick-start a run.
Guard – Jamal Murray
Guard – Gary Harris
Center – Nikola Jokic
Forward – Paul Millsap
Forward – Will Barton
These past couple of seasons have seen them lose top-level All-Star players such as George, Westbrook, and Chris Paul. But they have a plethora of drift picks traded in exchange. So, for a team that is building for the future, 6-6 is a pretty decent record.
OKC is heading into this contest with a closely fought victory against the Chicago Bulls. It was courtesy of a fine 33 point effort from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He will be their key player yet again.
Guard – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Guard – George Hill
Center – Isaiah Roby
Forward – Darius Bazley
Forward – Luguentz Dort
While their offense has been firing on all cylinders, their defense is leaking points. And that is precisely the reason why the Nuggets don’t enter this contest as the favorites.
On the other hand, the Thunder is a more cohesive unit behind the ball. So, fans can expect this to be an even game with a win for the taking both the both of them.
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