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Thunder vs Nuggets Preview: The stars come back to match up against the youth in Denver.

Will OKC's reserves sustain the starters' firepower against the developing Nuggets?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Where They At: Thunder

The Thunder big three sat against Memphis, and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka will all be back on the court against the Nuggets. We will be a game away from the regular season after this one, so the Thunder’s main concern is for those three to stay healthy. Also, it would be nice for the team to look fluid and cohesive on both ends of the court again, something that hasn’t been the case for a couple preseason games in a row.

Where They At: Nuggets

Denver is tearing up the preseason at 4-1, but this isn’t a great team. If Danilo Gallinari and Emmanuel Mudiay don’t rest again, they are the guys to watch. Gallinari is trying to make a full comeback from a long, hard road of surgery and recovery that ruined his last couple seasons. Mudiay is the shiny new point guard Denver is thrusting into the starting role—trusting him enough to send Ty Lawson away for peanuts. Those two are the potential to provide elite punch in the Nuggets lineup, and will need to do just that if they want to propel the team above where most are projecting them to finish this season: in the lottery yet again.

The Matchup

We don’t know for sure who all will play for the Nuggets, but I’m guessing the Thunder stars don’t play much (20 minutes tops, in my mind). OKC’s second unit looked awful against the Grizzlies, with Dion Waiters coming back to earth a bit in the midst of contract extension talks heating up. OKC should start strong, but don’t count on the reserves sustaining a dominant performance.

Prediction: Denver 97 Oklahoma City 93

2014-15 NBA Season Game
(Lost 1)

(Won 4)
October 18th, 2015
6 PM Central Standard Time
Injury Report: Enes Kanter (DTD), Mitch McGary (DTD), Randy Foye (DTD), Danilo Gallinari (DTD), Darrell Arthur (DTD), Jusuf Nurkic (Out)
This Season's Matchups: N/A
Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook PG Emmanuel Mudiay
Andre Roberson SG Gary Harris
Kevin Durant SF Wilson Chandler
Serge Ibaka PF Danilo Gallinari
Steven Adams C Joffrey Lauvergne