Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
Oklahoma City at Denver
When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday, December 14, 2018
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

The Denver Nuggets are atop the Western Conference standings but four other teams are within one game. One of those squads are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who visit Denver on Friday and trail the Nuggets by a half-game.

The Nuggets recently lost starting shooting guard Gary Harris (hip) and starting power forward Paul Millsap (broken toe) to injuries so they are relying more on center Nikola Jokic. The 23-year-old Serbian had 27 points and 12 rebounds in Monday's 105-99 win over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies and has four double-doubles over the past five games while averaging 20.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 9.4 assists during the stretch. The Thunder dropped a 118-114 decision to the host New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday to lose for just the fifth time in the past 22 games. "We got stops on demand, we got stops when we needed to, we just weren't able to close it out," Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook told reporters. "It happens like that sometimes. We still gave ourselves a chance to win the game."

TV: 10 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Oklahoma, Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE THUNDER (17-9): Small forward Paul George is averaging 30.5 points over the last four contests and he had 25 points and 11 rebounds against the Pelicans for his ninth double-double of the season. Similar to Westbrook, George was upbeat about a setback that came against a New Orleans squad that received 44 points from star Anthony Davis. "We played, really, really together. We were connected, offense and defense," George told reporters. "On defense, we swarmed. We did everything we could to get the extra 50-50 balls or get the rebound. Offensively we shared it and got the ball to the open man."

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (18-9): Backup point guard Monte Morris excelled against Memphis by matching his career best of 20 points and also contributing six rebounds and five assists. Coach Michael Malone was among the impressed as he said "we don't not win that game without Monte," while Morris is looking for his shot more with Harris out and has strung together four straight double-figure outings. "I have to change my mindset from being that facilitator and scoring here and there to being more in attack mode for the team," Morris said. "Especially with guys out."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Nuggets won the past three meetings, including a 105-98 victory on Nov. 24.

2. Oklahoma City C Steven Adams scored 20 points against New Orleans and posted four 20-point efforts in the past five games.

3. Denver PG Jamal Murray is averaging 10 points over the past two games after scoring at least 20 in five of the previous six games.

PREDICTION: Thunder 113, Nuggets 110
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Oklahoma City 17-9 L1 10-3 7-6 0-0 17-9 1-1 8-7
Denver 18-9 W1 10-3 8-6 0-0 18-9 4-0 11-4
Last Meeting
Oklahoma City Denver
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/24/18 DEN 105 OKC 98 98 54 35.9 105 54 41.1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Oklahoma City P. George 24 38.1 5
Denver J. Murray 22 39.1 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Oklahoma City S. Adams 14 7 7
Denver T. Craig 10 6 4
Assists Player  
Oklahoma City R. Westbrook 12
Denver J. Murray 8
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Oklahoma City P. George 704 43.4 140
Denver N. Jokic 515 48.4 113
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Oklahoma City S. Adams 284 140 144
Denver N. Jokic 282 72 210
Assists Player  
Oklahoma City R. Westbrook 180
Denver N. Jokic 220
Quickchart Matchup
Oklahoma City Oklahoma City Off vs  Denver Denver Defense
Oklahoma City Off vs Denver - Points For 111.7 Points For
Oklahoma City Off vs Denver - Points Against 103.7 Points Against
Oklahoma City - FG% 45.4 FG%
Denver - FG% 44.8 FG%
Oklahoma City - Reb 48.5 Reb
Denver - Reb 41.8 Reb
Denver Denver Off vs  Oklahoma City Oklahoma City Defense
Denver Off vs Oklahoma City - Points For 110.0 Points For
Denver Off vs Oklahoma City - Points Against 105.2 Points Against
Denver - FG% 46.2 FG%
Oklahoma City - FG% 44.7 FG%
Denver - Reb 47.2 Reb
Oklahoma City - Reb 44.2 Reb