2012-2013 Pre-Season Game 5 Preview: Thunder See Two Andres and Anthonys on the Nuggets

Eyyyyyyyyyy! - Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight, the Thunder play their final true home game of the pre-season, to the joy of everyone's wallets and competitive sensibilities. Still, there's fun to be had at the Peake on any night of the week.

2012/2013 NBA Preseason
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Denver Nuggets (3-1)
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Oklahoma City Thunder (2-2)
October 21, 2012
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
7:00 PM CDT
No TV, WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1)
Enemy Blogs: Denver Stiffs, Roundball Mining Company
Previous Meetings: None
Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook PG Andre Miller
Thabo Sefolosha (Q) SG Andre Igoudala
Kevin Durant SF Danilo Gallinari
Serge Ibaka PF Kenneth Faried
Cole Aldrich C Kosta Koufos

Tonight, the Thunder play their final true home game of the pre-season, to the joy of everyone's wallets and competitive sensibilities. Still, there's fun to be had at the Peake on any night of the week.

There's a few questions surrounding tonight's contest. Perry Jones III missed Friday night's game in Tulsa due to a sore knee. It seems like it was mostly a precautionary measure, but considering that his knee was his number one area of concern, it's enough to make anyone feel uneasy. Regardless, we still don't know if he'll play tonight.

Other injuries include Perk, who's already been ruled out of the Pre-Season because of his groin injury, and Harden, who had another more minor groin injury, but will likely be out tonight as well. Thabo Sefolosha still has a bruised thigh, but he'll likely play tonight.

More interestingly, the Thunder still have position battles shaping up. It's hard to determine exactly how things went down because I, along with everyone in Oklahoma City, couldn't see the game last night. But after Cole Aldrich's 0fer two games ago, Hasheem Thabeet stepped into the starting role on Friday and had a pretty meh outing. He didn't foul out in 18 minutes, and he had 5 points and four boards. Cole Aldrich looked much more impressive, going for 12 points and 6 boards in 24 minutes.

DeAndre Liggins was the only training camp invite to get time on Friday night and had a decent game, so, in terms of playing time, he continues to look like the lead option for the 15th spot. Whether he starts tonight will most likely hinge on if Thabo Sefolosha is recovered from injury or not.

Reggie Jackson and Eric Maynor continue to battle for the backup point guard position, and interestingly, Scott Brooks once employed a lineup of Maynor-Jackson-Westbrook-Durant-Collison during Friday night's game. That could possibly open the door for both of them to get minutes in certain situations. When it was all said and done, Maynor had less turnovers but Jackson had more boards. Maynor still appears to be the leading candidate though.

The Nuggets still probably have the deepest roster in the league, so even if the Thunder play their starters for a long time, tonight won't be a guaranteed victory. They also have the power of having two Anthonys and two Andres on their team, so that's not to be forgotten. But they still don't have Andre 3000, so I wouldn't read too much into it.

But they are a team that doesn't have set and established roles, except, perhaps, for newly acquired Andre Igoudala. So they'll be experimenting with different lineups and who to put where. As such, their projected starting lineup is subject to change. They also don't have any one area of extreme power or weakness, so tonight should be a good litmus test for the Thunder player's true ability.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 100, Denver Nuggets 87

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