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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, February 19th (All times eastern)

Denver Nuggets (17-14) at Oklahoma City Thunder (23-7), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A tough out at home, the Oklahoma City Thunder target their ninth straight win as the host when they resume a five-game residency tonight versus the Denver Nuggets at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Thunder opened the homestand with a 110-87 triumph versus the Golden State Warriors on Friday, as James Harden led the charge with a game-high 25 points off the bench. Kevin Durant finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook delivered 18 points for Oklahoma City, which outscored Golden State by a 38-24 margin in the second quarter and has won seven of its last 10 games.

"I think everybody played solid basketball tonight," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We were moving the ball really well. We still had a few too many turnovers and too many offensive rebounds given up."

Westbrook suffered a sprained right ankle in third quarter and is probable for tonight's game. Center Kendrick Perkins (knee) is listed as day-to-day and did not play versus the Warriors. Oklahoma City will also host the Hornets, Celtics and Lakers and is an impressive 11-1 in the OKC.

Oklahoma City is 6 1/2 games ahead of Denver for the Northwest Division lead and owns a strong 18-6 mark against Western Conference foes. It is 6-1 in games played after a loss and hasn't won nine straight home games since Nov. 5 - Dec. 4 of the 2004-05 campaign.

The Nuggets hope to salvage the finale of a three-game road trip tonight and have lost two straight and nine of their last 12 games. In Friday's 103-102 setback at Memphis, Grizzlies forward Dante Cunningham tipped in the game- winning basket with just 0.2 seconds remaining for the win.

Corey Brewer scored all 26 of his points in second half to pace the Nuggets, who got 18 points and 10 rebounds from Kenneth Faried. Ty Lawson scored 18 points and Andre Miller ended with 13 and nine assists in defeat.

"It was fun," Nuggets coach George Karl said on the team's website. "We made the game real fun. Some guys made some good shots. Kenneth was great. Brewer was really good."

Denver is 9-7 away from the Rocky Mountains this season and is still without injured contributors Danilo Gallinari (ankle) and Nene (calf).

The Nuggets and Thunder are playing the first of three matchups this season and are meeting for the first time since Oklahoma City bounced Denver from the opening round of last year's playoffs in five games. The Thunder took three of four meetings during the regular season.

Durant averaged 31.5 ppg in four regular-season games against Denver a year ago and is posting 28.6 points per game in 15 career meetings with the Nuggets.

02/19 10:41:19 ET


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