Thunder-Nuggets Ready To Rock

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We’d like to thank the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets for almost ruining the final week of the regular season for us in one night.

Seriously fellas, we’ve got to wait another week for the second season to kick off. So when you two go out and kick off your (likely) first-round playoff matchup nearly a week and a half early, it makes anything less than what you gave us last night in Denver tough to watch.

It’s a good thing you’re going to do it again Friday night in Oklahoma City. But it’s even better seeing that the battle lines have already been drawn, courtesy of Thunder center Kendrick Perkins and Nuggets center Nene going forehead-to-forehead at one point.

The Thunder won for the first time in Denver since the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City from Seattle. And if this was a preview of what could be in store during a playoff series, Thunder-Nuggets will be must-see playoff action.

While there is mutual respect being tossed back and forth in advance of a potential meeting, at least one keen observer saw what we saw last night and predicts this series could be one of the most hotly contested affairs of the postseason.

More from Mark Kizla of the Denver Post:

Barring some unexpected chaos in the standings during the final eight days of the regular season, Denver and Oklahoma City are going to meet again in the first round of the playoffs.

And here’s one prediction:

There will be blood.

While we were obsessed around here with the departure of Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder executed a big trade of its own before the league deadline. Oklahoma City got meaner by obtaining center Kendrick Perkins from Boston.

At one juncture of the second quarter, it was not quite clear whether Perkins’ main intention was to collect a defensive rebound or punch holes the size of his fingernails in Nene’s neck.

The confrontation led to Nene and Perkins jawing at such close range they probably could’ve identified what the other man ate for lunch.

“It’s a physical game. You saw it,” Nene said. “That’s the way it is.”

Yes it is, Nene.

And that’s the way we love it this time of year.

The funny thing is, neither one of these teams would be in the positions they are in now without the movement that went on at the trade deadline last month.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were already neck-deep into All-Star seasons and both of these teams were obviously playoff contenders prior to the deadline. But they didn’t look the same before then. The Thunder are a much tougher group than they were before Perkins arrived. And the Nuggets are clearly a much more cohesive group now than they were during the seven-month ‘Melo affair.

Both coaches have acknowledged as much and they see mirror images of one another when they match up, per the Oklahoman:

“They are a great young team, and we are trying to prove that we are a good young team,” said Denver coach George Karl.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks returned the pleasantries.

“They’re a good team,” Brooks said. “They defend you. They rebound the ball. They pass the ball. And they get out in transition and shoot 3s. They’ve got a lot of talented players and they’re tough to match up against.”

We might be just days away from an absolutely ferocious first-round series between two hungry teams eager to prove to each other (and everyone else) that they are ready for prime time.

And in our experience, there is no better way to spend the opening days of the playoffs than with teams bent on proving themselves!

42 Comments

  1. Tron says:

    Denver should have won that game. All they had to do was hit their free throws in the 3rd quarter and it would have been game over. Of course, they didn’t, and I remember that hurting them in the WCF against LA in 2009 as well. You want to win in the playoffs, you have to hit your free throws.

    • OKCKD35 says:

      You can say they should have won the game because they missed free throws, but at the same time you can say that is one of the biggest donwsides to the trade, the free throw percantage, OKC would lose a lot of games if we missed free throws, but we just so happen to be the best %wise free throw team in the NBA, you can call it luck but i call it having an all around game, if you cant make free throws people will foul you and send you to the line, you can look back in retrospect, but you dont think that if they did make their free throw in the third that durant wouldnt have come off the bench much sooner than he did? that could also effect the outcome of the game. Thats the whole point of the playoffs, weaknesses are exposed ina 7 game series

      • OKCKD35 says:

        I apologize if the nuggets fans in here think i am trying to bash their team, i think denver is a good team and i love their coach (you are welcome from seattle/OKC lol) i just think they need a full season of playing together under their belts to really contend this year, the games should be hard fought but when it is all said and done i just see OKC finding a way to win just as they have all year in close games

  2. Mega Freak says:

    Firstly, I would just like to say that in the Denver/Okc game both teams played well and are truly worthy of their playoff spots, so could everybody please stop with the hostilities. Denver Okc in the playoffs will be a very hard fought match-up, although I feel that the Thunder will pull out the victory at game 6 or 7. The reason for this prediction is that the Nuggets don’t have that all-important leader. All the greatest teams to ever make it deep into the playoffs have had at least one player that could be singled out as a true star. Denver, unfortunately now lacks such a player. The nuggets will MOST LIKELY go down this year, but that could change over the off-season as players are gained in the draft, and traded for spots in the draft. Denver is a truly strong team with a lot of potential, but won’t last long in the playoffs without a true team leader.

    • Mega Freak says:

      But let’s also not forget that the Thunder now have a chance at the third seed leaving the nuggets against the Mavs making all this arguing and hostile bickering useless… more useless

  3. OKCKD35 says:

    That’s nice, i am not trying to build up my teams “win streak” like the nuggets fans either, i’m not in here saying “we are 10-3 with Kendrick Perkins” if you happen to notice everything i am posting was either directly from the game with Denver or season stats, i dont measure my team by its last 20 games like all the nuggets fans are. That just means we played more of our “harder” games toward the early part of the season, we just won the division and ensured our home court advantage, have fun with that. you can call last night another quality win for the nuggets, they beat a very good mavericks team “without Kidd or Chandler” and all this may be fore not as OKC is about to move up to the # 3 seed anyways with one more Dallas loss! Then you can see what it is like to play them full strength

  4. CS Pilot says:

    OKC last win over a good team before beating DEN was MIA, and before that you have to go all the way back to January 13 when they beat ORL in OK by 1point (this was the game that D.Howard was serving his suspension for technical fouls).

  5. Everybody Needs To Stop Actin Like Afflalo Is A Superstar

  6. JEASON says:

    Well see what happens the 2nd game this week. If OKC wins again I think its a pretty good indicator of the playoffs….

  7. pumiero says:

    OKCKD35, you, are a straight up loser. if you truly think that the way the nuggets, nene obviously included, played last night, is because of ock’s spectacular defense, than you may legitimately may have mental problems, and i suggest you go see a doctor. they had an off night, anyone can see that. regardless, of their sub-par play, and lack of afflalo and bird, and some terrible calls against them in the 4th, they still made it a game. i cant wait till the playoffs man, youre in for a rude awakening

    • OKCKD35 says:

      your comment shows you truly know nothing about basketball, NBA players a “flow players” although Denver was missing some open shots you dont think it could be a result of good defense not allowing a shooter to get into his rythym, blame it on a bad night, blame it on the refs, blame it on anything other than your team losing, its ok i get it (i’m a st. louis rams fan) Russell Westbrook also had an off night but we still won, rather than looking at your team and saying “Wow we gave up 32 and 9 to Durant, or “wow” Kendrick Perkins just set his career high rebounding mark against us” you choose to take the low road and blame penalties, you dont care to actually look at the numbers and see both teams had the same exact number of penalties called on them, what you should really look at is you were out rebounded by 9 and allowed 8 offensive rebounds, now before you want to call me out why dont you do some research before you put your foot in your mouth AGAIN!

  8. NuggetNation says:

    Now, instead of showing up OKCKD35 with real facts, ima just laugh and say, brutha you need a life, you are replying to everyones comments with like novels of answers.
    All i wanna really say, is…wait for the playoffs;)

    • OKCKD35 says:

      Maybe thats because you dont have any real facts. We have a better record, and just beat your “new look team” in your own building. So please shoot me some meaningful facts, oh wait you cant, all of your facts are based upon 20 games where mine are on 75 games, that and your mere pedestrian 6-4 record against teams .500 or better. and 9-1 against teams under .500, so good job you deserve it!

  9. Max Wohlman says:

    This could be the most exciting 1st round series, maybe the most exciting series the whole playoffs. I think the Thunder will prevail though. Russell Westbrook, and KD are stars, they are clutch and are top 5 players in their positions. That along with the best interior Defense in the whole league maybe besides Chicago they can beat the Nuggets. The Nuggets lack playoff experience, has Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, ever made it to the playoffs. They are some of the biggest players on the team and they’ve never got to the playoffs more than once combined. The Nuggets also lack a star who is needed throughout the playoffs on every team to finish out close games. The Knicks have Melo and Amar’e, the Heat have D-Wade and Lebron, the Lakers have Kobe, the Thunder have KD but the Nuggets don’t have anyone who can change a game just a bunch of very very good role players. They have played extremely well over the regular season without Melo but come playoff time if they do advance past the 1st round they will need someone to step up but do they know who and do they have someone who can take a team on their back and lead them through the playoffs.

  10. Symokoto says:

    also, im not sure what CS Pilot’s comment abotu a 22 year old leaving is in reference to. Durant? He just signed a 5 year contract with OKC this year. He has an All-Star wingman in RW. He has a veteran champion in KP. His team is young. He obviously knows it is developing, and he’s proven not to be mad-hungry for instant rings like James or ultra-competitve like Bryant. He’s patient, and his contract and entire catalogue of statements indicate he will be staying in OKc for at least those 5 years. And pretty much every expert in the league believes him and believes that OKC is the next championship team in the West. So, no, CS Pilot must not be talking about Durant. In which case, he doesnt make any sense.

  11. Symokoto says:

    uhh, both teams played well, but that doesnt change the fact that OKC won by 7 and led the majority of the time, OKCKD35 is correct in much of his analysis – every Nugget defender failed to keep Durant in check. i say this because limiting him to 32 and 9 is defnitely not keeping him in check. afflalo will not be able to guard durant, nor should he be given that task (you simply dont play a size mismatch like that against the league’s best scorer, it’s suicide). it was an interesting game, and will be more interesting once playoffs start and the Nuggets get their men back (mainly the bigs) but if stats are any indication of the level of each big’s play, then KP, Ibaka, and Muhammad will crush Nene, Birdman, Mozgov. KP is univerally recognized as the best low-post defender in the league, Ibaka is a shot-blocking master and developing into a double-double machine, and while Muhammad is aging, his experience trumps Mozgov’s youth. while i approve of what the nuggets have put together sans superstar, history has proven pretty consistently that a championship team needs a go-to player in clutch. in addition, OKC beat the Nuggets on their home turf, where they are generally unstoppable. It will probably be OKC advancing in 6.

  12. NuggetsFan says:

    They’re both very good teams, and I can’t wait until the playoffs. It’s going to be a fun series to watch, and it will be very close. Only time will tell who wins. :)

  13. Man These Nugget Fans Are Something Else… I Guess Okc Winning Always Has To Do With Refs… Man Enough Of That We Have One Of The Most Exlposive Point Guards(Russel Westbrook) One Of The Best Scorers In The Game(Kevin Durant) And To Mention Neither Of Them Even 24 Years Old Or At There Prime And We Have A Combination Of Some Of The Best Big Man In The Game…. Soooo Were This Young , That Strong Down Low And We Are Starting To Already Become a Serious Contender…. Wow What Can You Say To That… And I Think Playing Denver In The First Round Is The Best Thing For Okc…. So They Can Have A Nice Challenge So They Will Be Ready To Face The Lakers/Spurs ! Denver Has Played Great But Who Will Step Up When They Need That LeaderShip????? And One More Thing Serge Ibaka Is Only 21 And Is Playing Better Than The Nuggets Big Men(How Old Are They?) So All In All Okc Is The Better Team!!!!

  14. CS Pilot says:

    I am pretty sure Chandler didnt guard Durant every time Durant was on the floor. THerefore, you cant say he allowed KD to have 32pts. Same thing goes for Nene on Ibaka and Perkins, unless you expect Nene to guard both players the entire game.

    Of course Westbrook is going to have 18 when he takes 18 shots and gets bogus calls that send him to the line.

    And Mosgov played an entire 1:08.

    “if Wilson Chandler was great at D why did Durant have 12 points when the entire Nuggets team had 14″ what are you even trying to say here?

    • OKCKD35 says:

      i am trying to say Chandler was guarding him to start the game and in the opening 8 minutes of the game Durant had 12 points where the entire nuggets team had 14. That is a direct relation to the defense Chandler was playing, and of course i know this, i was even being nice as i know 5 of thos 7 points Nene scored were on Nick Collison :) so we can really say Nene only made 1 basket on KP if you like, and Ibaka is our other BIG, i was pointing out his 11 rebounds for the fact that Nugget fans were saying their bigs would dominte OKC’s bigs where in reality it was the exact opposite, and the stats i put up for Mozzy was his average for the entire season, if you want to count the OKC game he did nothing. And once again you can complain about penalties all game, you can cry about westbrook falling over while he was double teamed and getting free throws, but you can also blame that on coaching, the first rule of “trap defense” is DO NOT REACH IN!!!, there were two people running the trap and two people reaching in, their bad. Everyone says OKC wins because of the Refs and i am tired of it, if we win because of fouls then we have we had more players foul out this year than any team in the NBA? calls go both ways but ALL STARS WIN GAMES!!!!

      • CS Pilot says:

        Once agian…. the nuggets only had 1 big playing (Nene).

        Anyways, enjoy this blip of success the Thunder are having. Is obvious that the Thunder arent winning a title anytime soon so he will be asking to be sent elsewhere. Who would want to live in OK anyways? Especially if you are 22 making that kind of money.

      • OKCKD35 says:

        Isn’t Kenyon Martin their power forward? Isnt that considered a BIG? He sure played last night, and your defense is to this is Birdman And an unproven rookie Mozzy? Maybe your bench isnt as deep as you thought :) CS you obviously dont know anything about the Thunder, While LeBron James was out having a media circus regarding his contract KD quietly signed a max contract, he even gave up his bargaining position before the off season saying that he didnt want to play for anyone but OKC, unlike most of todays stars KD stays dedicated to hard work and loyal to his team, check your facts man. In addition we have the best young core of players in the league and we are just getting better, guaranteed we will be winning titles well before Denver

  15. denver/okc fan says:

    OKCKD35 CALM DOWN! dude its just a season game this doesnt mean okc will win. im both teams fans (more of a okc fan) and ill tell you that perkins D had nothing to do with nene missing WIDE open layups! plus you say that the okc bench did bettter but what you dont realize is that denver didnt have jr smith playing well (and they shouldve used him in the final minutes as two point guards dont give you threes), afflalo, birdman, or mozzy. Birdman on ibaka will be sooo funn tooooo watch!!!
    and you have to give it to denver, okc had some lucky calls and that nene jump ball nene didnt even touch his back he had only contact with the ball.===that last ply with rw and that durant flop was bs.
    you say wilson chandler is bad at D???? Hes great held kobe in check and will try hard, thats all you ask.
    and if rw plays where he makes it personal they will not do good, trust me nene wont have that bad of a game cuz all he does is get the ball from feeds so itll be an easy layup.
    i really dont care who wins, just want to see some great bball

    • OKCKD35 says:

      We arent talking about Kobe first of all, if the box score is correct he held Durant to a measly 32 points and 9 rebounds, and your point on JR smith is also my point on JR Smith, he is inconsistent as any player i have ever seen, Nene shot 3-10 from the field, i dont think he blew 7 lay-ups, not only did he shoot 30% he also let Perkins bring in 14 rebounds, as well as Ibaka having 11 rebounds, if Wilson Chandler was great at D why did Durant have 12 points when the entire Nuggets team had 14? lol Excuses Excuses, look at the numbers, the only reason people are so hype on the nuggets is they have had an easy schedule since the trade, and Mozzy is not a weapon, at least not yet, 4 point and 2 boards a game, 3 more rebounds and he would be Andersen lmao. And as bad as Westbrook played he still had 18 and 6. and as for the Nene call it shouldnt matter there is a little penalty called reaching in, doesnt matter if you draw contact a reach is a reach. And i am not going to calm down, after all the talk from the nuggets fan in these hang time blogs about how Nene was going to crush perkins and Chandler would shut down Durant, i think its funny, and right now its my time to remind them of those words :)

    • CS Pilot says:

      well put

  16. CS Pilot says:

    How can you say that they are lucky to make the postseason without Melo?! Since the trade, they are 15-5. They beat the likes of LA, Boston, San Antonio. With losses to Portland (1pt), Orlando (3pt), Miami (5pt), all of which were on the road.
    You say that the Nuggets’ big-men were shutdown? Remember that Nene was the only true big-man playing. Chris Anderson is out hurt, and Mosgov left in the second quarter, and let me remind you that he is a rookie.
    Just wait for the postseason when the Nuggets are at full strength and when the officials aren’t going to be making those “All-star” loving calls.

    • OKCKD35 says:

      lol ok, if you say so, for one i never said they were lucky to be in the playoffs, what i meant was normally when a team loses a player of Melo’s caliber there is normally rebuilding to follow, i dont know if you watch baskeball but my other point is the fact that although yes they have been playing great, they still havent been together long enough to make a serious run, that is what i meant when i said they remind me of OKC last year, and trust me, we are not worried about Andersen, he will be handled just like Nene was. Also when counting your losses dont forget about the loss by 7 at home to your division rival!

    • OKCKD35 says:

      Also as for your “they beat LA, Boston and San Antonio, LA is always a good win, but they have looked terrible the last 2 games, if you see they just lost to the Jazz at home too, Boston has been barely above .500 since the trade of Perkins, and you Squeaked by San Antonio who had no Tim Duncan (who were in a 6 game losing streak) and 7 of those other wins were against: Sacramento twice,washington, toronto,detroit, pheonix, Charlotte and Utah, So you should really think about stregnth of schedule as well, arent those teams all below .500? The nuggets are only 6-4 against teams .500 or better since the trade, just so you know

  17. Mark R says:

    What impressed me last night was OKC’s ability to score on what has proven to be a tougher Denver D post ‘Melo – number one in the league since the trade. They also were able to keep a lid on what has been a potent Denver offense aswell.

    If this game is what we have to look forward to, it’s going to be quite a series if they meet in round one – our original favourite team to cause playoff upsets (OKC), versus our new favourite to cause playoff upsets (Denver) – just a shame one of them will go out at the first hurdle, as the rest of the west would be nervous about facing either of them..

    http://hoopnholla.com/sleep-success-okc-reminds-us-of-its-playoff-potential/

  18. OKCKD35 says:

    I’m not trying to say Denver isnt a good team because they are, but i think they are like the Thunder last year, good enough to make some noise but not experienced enough to get it done in the playoffs, you should just be gratefull your team is still in the post season after losing a player like Melo

  19. D-NUggETs says:

    i think the denver nuggets will upset the thunder because that game was played without their starting sg Arron Affalo who probably will shut down KD also when the playoffs start the nuggets will have a bench and starting unit to be reckoned with i Say 4-3 Denver Nuggets advance Second Round

    • OKCKD35 says:

      Kevin Durant plays SF, Please put your SG on your 6-10 SF he will shoot over the top of afflalo all day, before this it was “well now we have wilson chandler and Galinari to guard him which is a huge upgrade from MELO, in all reality the only reason Denver beat us numerous times was because of MELO, Also this does not change the fact that the Denver bigs were doing nothing down low

    • OKCKD35 says:

      Plus we all knew who really ran the UCLA squad :)

      • Neonato1806 says:

        So Westbrook falls down and they call a foul despite no contact? Talk about some starFu**ing right there.

      • OKCKD35 says:

        There were plenty of bad calls in the game, i know the play you are talking about, and yes while westbrook was running out of control Nene stepped out and was moving, it was just unfortunate for the Nuggets that they were already in the penalty, What about the no call at the end of the game where 2 defenders were reaching in on Westbrook and they called him out of bounds, or the play where they called a jump ball when Nene clearly had only one hand on the ball and that arm was wrapped around Ibaka’s back? you can complain about officials all you want, but guess what? every game there will be officials and bad calls, you have to play the game, you didnt see me in here crying about the game OKC just lost to the clippers, we had a 12 point lead and had 3 techs called in 4 seconds, 5 techs against us in one game, not to mention 7 charging penalties (5 of them picked up by Blake the Fake Griffin). Nope just counted it as a loss and look forward to revenge tonight in OKC!

  20. OKCKD35 says:

    HAAAAAAAAAA, i would just like to point out in the previous OKC getting upset by Denver blog that all of the denver fans were talking about how the Thunder could not stop their bigs from dominating the game, Hahahaha, still think Kendrick Perkins cant D up Nene? He did have 7 points (on 10 shots)and 8 rebounds, hahaha and wilson chandler lol what a joke 5 points (on 9 shots) Denver you will have to have stellar point guard play to even compete in this series, after watching the game last night Denver is missing one thing, A CLOSER!!, Lawson had a great game, went for a career high in points, but he cant do it all, i was also told that denver was a much deeper team, hmmm OKC bench had 34 points, 14 rebounds, Denver bench 23 points 12 rebounds, good luck in a 7 game series!!!! By the way wasnt that game in Denver? hahahaha, on our way to the division crown!

    • DenverNuggets4Life says:

      Talk all the crap you want, because in the end, Denver will come on top. :)

      • OKCKD35 says:

        Just like they did in denver last night? When the game is on the line we know who we are going to, the NBA scoring leader, Who is Denver’s clutch player?

  21. seeingisbelieving says:

    Both teams have an uptempo style of play and can score a lot of points. But by OKC having two all star players in Durant and Westbrook and by having Kendrick Perkins via trade, I think by Denver not having a leader on the floor will make a big impact in the series. But by Denver having a very deep bench I think it will go to an exciting 7 game series.
    OKC 4 -3 =))

  22. prix says:

    This is gonna be tough!!! This match up is the most exciting match-up in the first round.. I like both teams but I’m gonna go with OKC this time..but Denver would probably give them a great series…where OKC is the best team in the West that could upset the Lakers that i see..no doubt with there powerhouse line up now with Perk and cast play great defense.. combine with offensive power of KD and RW….I could see the conference finals coming…Believe that!!!

    • 80s90sBaller says:

      Agreed. Both these Teams are good but OKC with a force the league has been sleeping on. Even Kobe said he loved how KD and RW played with no fear. They will all soon recognize..

      Its just too bad that the new Denver had to meet OKC in the first round. They could have done so much damage against other teams, but now only the better Team will come out, which is clearly OKC. OKC won against all odds / stats / history / streaks on the road with a hostile crowd, and really a bad game from one of their All-Stars.

      Also: Ibaka is getting better,.. and not only on D.

      Hey didn’t someone say that Gallinari can guard Durant on a previous topic? =D