National Basketball Association
Thunder-Nuggets Preview
National Basketball Association

Thunder-Nuggets Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 12:49 p.m. ET

The Oklahoma City Thunder have blown more fourth-quarter leads than any team in the league, but Russell Westbrook doesn't seem too concerned after the latest such slip-up, even with the playoffs looming.

The Thunder usually haven't had that problem in recent matchups with the Denver Nuggets and will try to extend their dominance in the series Tuesday night.

Oklahoma City (53-24) failed to hold on to a lead in the final period for the 13th time in Sunday's 118-110 defeat at Houston.

The Rockets outscored the Thunder 21-8 in the final 5:40. They also finished with 21 second-chance points and scored 25 off Oklahoma City's 21 turnovers, its most in 12 games.


"I don't agree with us 'losing the lead' if we're up two points going into the fourth quarter because, to me, that's not losing the lead," said Westbrook, who finished one assist shy of his 17th triple-double this season. "To me, that doesn't make any sense. I think we've been doing a good job of playing well and closing out games, so I'm not worried about that."

Oklahoma City will seek to bounce back with a sixth consecutive win over the Nuggets (32-46) and the franchise's first season sweep of Denver since 1997-98 when it was known as the Seattle SuperSonics.

The Thunder won the last matchup 110-104 at Denver on Jan. 19, overcoming a 6-for-28 performance from 3-point range.

The Nuggets enter having lost four of five, and they've dropped back-to-back games against short-handed teams that are below them in the Western Conference standings. They lost 101-95 in New Orleans on Thursday and two nights later fell 115-106 to visiting Sacramento, which used eight players, resting DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo.

"You look at the last two games, we played against a depleted Pelicans team, got our butts kicked," said guard Will Barton, who has eight points on 0-of-17 shooting in the past two contests. "Tonight we played a depleted Sacramento team and got our butts kicked. It's a terrible effort. Just a bad effort."

The Nuggets were abysmal in the fourth quarter in those two, totaling 35 points on 26.7 percent shooting, including 2 of 16 from 3-point range.

Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant has scored at least 20 points in 61 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak since the NBA-ABA merger. He is closing in on Kobe Bryant's 63-game run for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2005-06.

Durant has scored 20-plus points in 25 straight matchups with Denver, including the playoffs. The last time he failed to reach that mark against the Nuggets was a 19-point effort March 3, 2010.

Durant has averaged 32.5 points in his last four games in Denver, while Westbrook is averaging 28.5 points on 52.5 percent shooting in his last two in the series.

Oklahoma City can wrap up the Western Conference's No. 3 seed with a win or a Los Angeles Clippers defeat against the Lakers on Tuesday night.

The Nuggets have lost their past two home games after winning five in a row, their longest streak in two seasons.


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