On Saturday morning, Oklahoma City Thunder will be visiting Denver Nuggets at the Ball Arena.
The Nuggets are in great form having won 9 out of their last 10 matches, with intentions to extend their six-game winning streak. Their most recent victory was a 142:105 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, marking their biggest of the season. In that game, Nikola Jokic had a triple-double with 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists, hitting all 11 shots. Jamal Murray contributed 23 points and 9 assists, and PJ Watson scored 20 points. The team showed high precision, making 57% of field goals and 20 out of 41 three-pointers.
The Nuggets, who could have had a ten-game winning streak if not for a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, managed to overcome the absence of Aaron Gordon due to injury. Coach Michael Malone filled the power forward position with Payton Watson, who met the expectations, hitting 6 out of 14 shots and making 40% attempts from beyond the arc. Malone expressed confidence in Watson, emphasising his role in the team's future and opportunity to learn from stars like Jokic and Murray. Malone stated that he will consider various roster options to replace Gordon, including Watson potentially starting in the next game.
The Thunder are in fine form, having won 7 out of their last 9 games. The team is seeking their third consecutive victory after defeating New York Knicks with a scoreline 129:120. In that encounter, Jalen Williams spearheaded the game with 36 points, successfully making 13 out of 17 shots. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also made a significant contribution, scoring 36 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, with Chet Holmgren contributing 22 points. The Thunder showed high precision, making 54% of field shots and 14 out of 32 three-pointers. They started the duel with a brisk 38 points in the first quarter and, despite the efforts of Knicks, were able to snatch the win with a 15:9 run in the final quarter.
Thunder has one of the youngest lineups in the league. They affirmed their skill by securing a win against Denver Nuggets on December 17 and are preparing for a rematch in Denver. In that competition, Gilgeous-Alexander made the winning shot with one second left on the clock, ensuring a 118:117 victory. Holmgren also showed excellent results, blocking 8 attempts by Denver and ranking 3rd in the NBA for most game blocks.
The Thunder are closely monitoring the condition of Jalen Williams, whose participation in the pending match remains uncertain, while the Nuggets continue playing without Aaron Gordon due to dog bites. Approaching this clash, the Thunder are showing impressive play, however, the Nuggets remain the favourites on their home turf.