Thunder vs. Nuggets Preview – NBA.com (blog)
In helping Oklahoma City bounce back from its only loss this month, rookie Mitch McGary finally showed why the Thunder took him in the first round of the draft.
Oklahoma City will try to keep heading in the right direction Monday night against the slumping Denver Nuggets, who seek to avoid their longest home losing streak in 12 seasons.
After losing on a buzzer beater Friday against New Orleans, Oklahoma City (26-25) improved to 3-1 this month with Sunday’s 131-108 rout of the short-handedLos Angeles Clippers. Kevin Durant scored 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting in his second game back from a sprained big toe against a team that was missing star Blake Griffin due to a staph infection.
McGary provided 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 10 rebounds in 23-plus minutes in his third NBA game. The 21st overall pick, who has been dealing with foot and leg injuries, totaled three points and four rebounds in eight-plus minutes in his first two contests.
“He plays with great energy and he’s got a good feel,” forward Nick Collison said. “It was really fun to see him. He’s had a tough go of it with injuries, but he was ready to go.”
McGary will try to contribute again when the Thunder visit Denver, losers in 12 of 13 and five in a row at home. The Nuggets (19-32) also took a fifth consecutive overall defeat Friday, 98-88 in Detroit, and their 38.8-percent shooting performance marked the fourth time they’ve been held under 40.0 during their skid.
Denver is also connecting at 22.0 percent from beyond the arc in the last five games, while averaging 88.2 points – 12.1 below its season mark. Only Jameer Nelson (Achilles) and JaVale McGee (illness) didn’t play Friday, but coach Brian Shaw said many more Nuggets were playing while sick.
That could make it difficult for Denver to avoid its first six-game home skid since dropping seven straight Feb. 6-March 2, 2003.
“We legitimately have five or six guys that are under the weather,” Shaw said.
“We’re trying to hang on and keep battling. Hopefully, we can … (recuperate), re-energize, reboot and give a better effort after the … – Click Here To Visit Article Source