2012-13 NBA Game Of The Week: Week 12 Nuggets V Thunder
This week’s game of the week is between two of the most exciting teams in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City and Denver will be battling it out, so let’s take a look at the match up.
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONS:
Time & Date: Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:00pm AEDT
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma CIty.
These two teams will also face off again on Monday, 21st of January at Denver.
FORM HEADING IN:
Denver Nuggets: 23-16
Denver are one of the harder teams to read in the league. Many people had them as one of the top four teams in the West before the season started. They haven’t quite lived up to that tag thus far. The Nuggets have been great at home but struggle at times on road trips.
Their latest win came against Golden State. They were trailing going into the last quarter, but outscored the Warriors 37-18 in the final quarter to win 116-105.
Oklahoma City: 29 -8
Oklahoma City have been on a tear all season, and show no signs of slowing down. They have the best record in the NBA and at many times throughout the season have looked a step up from last year’s team.
Oklahoma City’s last match came against Portland. It was a great contest that saw the Thunder eventually coming out on top 87-83, with Westbrook sinking 2 late free throws to ice the game.
MATCH UP OF THE NIGHT:
While there may be bigger names at other positions, I don’t think we will see a harder fought battle than at the power forward position. The match up of Serge Ibaka and Kenneth ‘The Manimal’ Faried will be a battle of two beasts.
Kenneth Faried is only in his second NBA season, yet he is playing like a seasoned pro. Every game you can almost guarantee he will get a double double. Faried in many ways is the barometer for the Nuggets, when he is switched on, the Nuggets are switched on. Everyone loves The Manimal’s dunks, but it is the less fancier, grunt work that is making such a great player. Faried is averaging a very impressive 4 offensive rebounds per game.
Serge Ibaka has taken his game to a new level this season. Everyone knew he was the best shot blocker in the league, but now he has turned himself into a reliable scoring threat as well. His scoring contribution can’t be underestimated, even though the Thunder have Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Martin at their disposal. Ibaka is the cornerstone of the Thunder defense.
The battle for rebounds will be intense as any match up we’ve seen. If Faried can impose his large frame and use his muscle to outmaneuver Ibaka, it will help hugely with Denver’s confidence and lead to Ty Lawson fast breaks. I can’t wait to see how this match up plays out.
Andre Iguodala has had an interesting start to his tenure in Denver. He was slow to adjust to the Nuggets game plan, but as time has worn on he has found his feet and has started to look like the player he was with the 76er’s.
Iguodala will need to be on his toes on the offensive end when Kevin Martin comes in off the bench, and to a lesser extent against starter, Thabo Sefalosha. If he can stifle Martin’s outside shooting and force him into tough shots he will have done his part on defense.
He will still need to produce the goods on offense. Iguodala, like any player loves to operate in space, running down the wing on the fast break and pulling up for open jump shots or dunks.
If either team wants to win this game they are going to need their bench players to stand up and produce good numbers. Both benches are highly capable of doing this.
Andre Miller is one of the most underrated players in the NBA of the last decade. Miller has been fantastic for the Nuggets this season after re-signing in the off season. When Ty Lawson went down with an injury, Miller thrived being thrust into the starting line up. Lawson hasn’t really gone on from last year’s play offs when he looked almost unstoppable against the Lakers. Miller has had Lawson’s back through out his struggles, making sure he has covered Lawson when he is having a bad night. Miller is averaging a very handy 9.2 points, 5.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds.
The Thunder bench crew is lead well by Kevin Martin. Martin is averaging the third most points for OKC and provides much needed support for Durant and Westbrook. Although most will admit that James Harden is a better player than Martin. It does appear that Martin is more than happy to come in off the bench, whereas Harden may have snapped at any moment and had enough of coming off the bench. Martin is averaging 15.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
Who could forget JaVale McGee? He is one of the more interesting to come into the NBA in recent years.You never know what you’re going to get with McGee and that’s what makes him so unique. He drained his first ever 3 pointer against the Clippers and celebrated in a very typical JaVale way, licking his fingers. For all the weird and at times disheartening things he does, he is still a very good player and patience must be preached. Remember he is still only 24, turning 25 on January 19th. McGee is averaging 10.2 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Nick Collison is a solid contributor for the Thunder night in, night out. You know what you are going to get with Collison, 100% effort. He has been around the league long enough to know what is required of him. He understands that he is never going to be a star and accepts that, what he does provide is a veteran’s take on things for this very young team. Collison is averaging 6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
STARTING LINE UPS:
- Point guard: Russell Westbrook
- Shooting guard: Thabo Sefalosha
- Small forward: Kevin Durant
- Power forward: Serge Ibaka
- Centre: Kendrick Perkins
- Point guard: Ty Lawson
- Shooting guard: Andre Iguodala
- Small forward: Danilo Gallinari
- Power forward: Kenneth Faried
- Centre: Kosta Kuofus
This match up will be a treat for fans of fast moving basketball. Both these teams have players who can score at will when they are on their game. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook provide this for the Thunder, Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala do the same for the Nuggets. The key to this game is long range scoring. Both teams have outside threats, who can turn a game by them self.
My prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder: 102 Denver Nuggets: 93