National Basketball Association
Preview
Denver at Oklahoma City
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City standout Russell Westbrook has joined the list of the wounded as the Thunder host the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. The point guard broke his right hand in Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, raising Oklahoma City’s number of injured players to seven, a group that includes reigning MVP Kevin Durant. The initial prognosis is that Westbrook will miss between four to six weeks, and the Thunder’s goal will be to stay afloat until he and Durant return.

The Nuggets received a big effort from power forward Kenneth Faried while posting an 89-79 victory over the Detroit Pistons in their opener. Faried had 22 points and 17 rebounds in a strong debut for a campaign in which the Nuggets are hoping he takes a big step forward. “He was huge for us right from the beginning of the game,” Denver coach Brian Shaw told reporters. “Aggressive, getting good position down low, got their bigs in foul trouble.”

TV:
8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), FSN Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (1-0): Forward Danilo Gallinari was just 1-of-8 shooting and scored seven points against the Pistons in his first game in 18-plus months. Gallinari tore his left ACL in April 2013 and later required a second surgery that prevented him from playing last season. “Physically, I feel good. There is no pain,” Gallinari told reporters after his return. “I’m not scared. I’m ready to go. I was a little rusty, but we all knew it.”

ABOUT THE THUNDER (0-2): Forward Perry Jones scored a career-high 32 points against the Clippers as he took advantage of an opportunity with Oklahoma City down to eight players after the loss of Westbrook. The Thunder have never started 0-3 since moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City, and journeyman Sebastian Telfair will likely be the only point guard on the roster for the game against the Nuggets. “It’s unfortunate the way it is right now but that’s the way it is,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks told reporters. “We have to figure out how we can improve and get better from all of our experiences.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Oklahoma City won three of the four meetings last season.

2. Thunder PG Reggie Jackson (ankle) is nearing a return and will start in Westbrook’s place when healthy.

3. Denver C J.J. Hickson is serving a five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy.

PREDICTION: Nuggets 117, Thunder 109
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Denver 1-0 W1 1-0 0-0 0-0 1-0 0-0 0-0
Oklahoma City 0-2 L6 0-0 0-2 0-0 0-2 0-1 0-2
Last Meeting
Denver Oklahoma City
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/24/14 DEN 96 OKC 117 96 42 39.0 117 40 50.6
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Denver T. Lawson 25 45.5 13
Oklahoma City K. Durant 27 47.6 6
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Denver K. Faried 11 5 6
Oklahoma City S. Ibaka 7 1 6
Assists Player  
Denver T. Lawson 7
Oklahoma City R. Jackson 11
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Denver T. Mozgov 107 56.5 28
Oklahoma City R. Westbrook 112 38.3 38
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Denver J. Nurkic 76 27 49
Oklahoma City S. Adams 65 25 40
Assists Player  
Denver T. Lawson 41
Oklahoma City R. Westbrook 47
Quickchart Matchup
Denver Off vs  Oklahoma City Defense
89.0 Points For
99.5 Points Against
35.3 FG%
42.0 FG%
51.0 Reb
37.5 Reb
Oklahoma City Off vs  Denver Defense
89.5 Points For
79.0 Points Against
41.8 FG%
36.9 FG%
37.5 Reb
45.0 Reb