The NBA will finish out the week with a total of nine games on the board for Friday night. The Oklahoma City Thunder will visit the Denver Nuggets in one of the exciting games of the night. Both teams have started out the season strong and will look to keep it up with a win on Friday night. The game will be on ESPN at 10:00 PM Eastern.
Oklahoma City has started out the season with a record of 17-9. The Thunder have earned the third spot in the Western Conference to this point in the season. Oklahoma City is coming off a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on the road. The Thunder have been great since their 0-4 start to the season and I believe that they will look to bounce back with a win on Friday night.
The Nuggets have jumped out to a fast start, which has earned them the top spot in the Western Conference. Denver has gone 18-9 to start out the new campaign. The Nuggets won their last game against the Memphis Grizzlies, which ended a two-game losing streak. Denver has been doing really well recently though, winning eight of their last ten games.
Friday night’s matchup will be the second of four games between these two teams this season. The Thunder and the Nuggets will meet up two more times on February 26 and March 29. Oklahoma City and Denver will each play once at home in those last two games. With both teams off to strong starts to the season, I expect an exciting game on Friday night.
Last season, Oklahoma City and Denver met up four times in the regular season. The Nuggets took the first game at home 102-94. The second game shifted to Oklahoma City, where the Thunder snuck out with a 95-94 win. The third and fourth game were both taken by the Nuggets by scores of 127-124 and 126-125. Denver missed out on the playoffs, while the Thunder earned the fourth spot in the Western Conference at the end of the season.
The first game this season was hosted by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul George had 24 points for the Thunder, while Dennis Schroder added another 18, but it was not enough. Jamal Murray scored 22 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists for the Nuggets. Nikola Jokic and Trey Lyles each scored 16 to help give Denver the road win. The Nuggets finished the night with a 105-98 win.
The five games over the last two seasons have been close, but Denver has been able to go 4-1 in them. The Nuggets are able to pull off the tight win in the end and I believe that the Thunder will look to get some revenge for that on Friday night. Oklahoma City has been playing well as of late and I believe they have a chance to pull off the road win.
Oklahoma City has avoided most injuries this season. The Thunder’s only injury is Andre Roberson, who is still recovering from an ACL tear last season. Roberson is a really good defensive player to have back in the lineup hopefully later this season.
Unlike the Thunder, Denver has been hit hard with injuries this season. The Nuggets will be without Will Barton, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, Michael Porter Jr, Isaiah Thomas, and Jarred Vanderbilt on Friday night. Barton, Harris, and Millsap have all played important roles this season. Porter and Thomas have not had a chance to prove themselves in the lineup, but could be very useful when they return.
The Thunder have been led by the duo of Paul George and Russell Westbrook this season. George has been averaging 24 points and 8 rebounds per game. Westbrook is averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists per game this season. Oklahoma City has gotten a breath of fresh air off the bench from Dennis Schroder. He has averaged 17 points per game so far this season. Steven Adams has been averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.
Nikola Jokic has done a good job helping lead the Nuggets to their strong start. Jokic is averaging 17 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists per game this season. Jamal Murray has been averaging 17.5 points from the Point Guard spot. Trey Lyles is averaging 10 points per game off the bench.
One of the key matchups this game will be Murray and Westbrook. While Murray has been a solid player this season, I expect Westbrook to explode for another big stat line on Friday night. Another big matchup to watch will be Jokic on Adams. I believe that Jokic could give the Nuggets an advantage at the Center spot.
Oklahoma City is coming into Friday night’s game after a tough road loss a couple nights ago. The Thunder have struggled against the Nuggets as of recently, but I expect that to change. Paul George could have a big night with both Gary Harris and Will Barton out. The Thunder are dealing with a lot fewer injuries and have some appealing matchups. This should help lead Oklahoma City to a win on Friday night.
BetOnline has listed the Thunder as a -2 against the spread. Oklahoma City is the more appealing team here, even on the road because of Denver’s list of injuries. I agree with this spread and I believe there is a lot of value on the Thunder. Oklahoma City should be able to end their three-game losing streak against the Nuggets with a win on Friday night. I am taking the Thunder as road underdogs.