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Thunder Gameday: Denver Nuggets (32-16) OPEN THREAD


I don't think any Thunderhead needs to be reminded about what happened the last time the Nuggets paid a visit to Loud City. Just in case, here's a quick refresher. Kevin Durant nailed a clutch 3 point shot to give the Thunder a 120-119 lead with just 1.7 seconds left on the clock, and it looked as if the Thunders most exciting game of the season was also going to translate into a Thunder victory. Carmelo, of course, had other ideas, and only need 2.6 of the 2.7 seconds Durant and the Thunder left on the clock. He caught the inbound and threw up a shot from downtown, and took the win back in stunning fashion. Needless to say Thunderfans went from their most emotional high point of the season, to quietly walking out the building, shocked at the turn of events that just unfolded before their eyes.

Next Game

Denver Nuggets
@ Oklahoma City Thunder

Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009, 7:05 PM CST
Ford Center

Complete Coverage >

While we will have an opportunity to exact revenge on the Nuggets, its unclear on exactly how much of it we can to on Carmelo himself. According to ESPN, he is having his minutes restricted because he's just coming back from injury. Check out the report below from ESPN.

Player News (last updated: February 1, 2009)News: Anthony will have his minutes restricted for the next week or so by head coach George Karl, the Denver Post reports.

Spin: Anthony missed 10 games with a fracture in his right hand and Karl doesn't want to rush his star back into the 34-36 minutes a night he's averaged in the past. "I think it would be difficult for me to play him 38 minutes (against San Antonio on Tuesday) or the next game," Karl said. "I think it's going to be a progression of a week, and then another week probably before he's at that 35-minute mark. I think Melo should work to push himself more and more every opportunity he gets." To Anthony's credit he did extensive conditioning work while he was out and has returned in great condition so we don't expect it to take that long for him to get right back in the swing of things. However, don't forget about the bone spurs in his elbows and a possibility of the tendinitis flaring up down the road.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2008 - Carmelo Anthony 32 33.8 7.4 16.9 43.6 1.1 2.6 41.5 5.3 6.8 77.1 1.8 5.3 7.1 3.6 3.3 0.9 0.3 3.0 21.1

Those are stats that are hard to replace, and with the Nuggets playing the Spurs last night, its hard to say just how many minutes Carmelo will play. I'm guessing he'd be used more against the Spurs and rested against the Thunder since San Antonio is the game the team will likely need him more, but at the same time, he's trying to get re-acclimated from injury, and it may just be based on how Karl wants to work him back out onto the floor. Either way, its unlikely that he plays a bunch of minutes tonight.
Linus Kleiza is the guy who's been stepping up in Melo's absence averaging nearly 5 more points per game with the superstar not playing, and he's a guy the Thunder will need to key on tonight, along with Chauncey Billups. Billups can find a million and one ways to kill you, and with Mason out, the Rookie tandem of Russell Westbrook and Kyle Weaver will be asked to tag team on the daunting task of keep Billups from making plays.
The Thunder are 5-2 in their last 7 games at home, one of those two losses, of course, was to Denver. It'll be fun to see how the team responds to the Nuggets being back in Loud City. Can't wait for tipoff!