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2011 NBA Playoffs Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Denver Nuggets, Game 2

Roberto PayneContributor IApril 20, 2011

2011 NBA Playoffs Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Denver Nuggets, Game 2

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 17: Russell Westbrook #0 and Serge Ibaka #9 both of the Oklahoma City Thunder look to beat Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Denver Nuggets to a loose ball in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The first game of the series was a tight one and the Thunder pulled it out 107-103. It was one of the better games of the first round so far and the next game should be no different.

    Game 2 is once again in Oklahoma City and Denver should be looking to bring it. Read on to see if the Thunder take a 2-0 series lead or if the Nuggets steal a game on the road and even up the series at 1-1.

How the First Game Was Won

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    MIAMI, FL - MARCH 16:  Kevin Durant #35 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrate after a 3 pointer during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on March 16, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ack
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 72 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists, six three-pointers and two steals.

    They scored 67 percent of the total points scored by the Thunder. They also got to the free throw line 20 times, making 16 and they combined to shoot 55 percent from the field. They controlled the outcome of the game basically.

    Even though Durant and Westbrook were excellent, the biggest contribution was Eric Maynor's 12 points off the bench. The Thunder would not have been in a position to win if not for Maynor's production off the bench.

     

Denver Nuggets: Keys to a Game Two Victory

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 17: Nick Collison #4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder fights for a rebound against Kenyon Martin #4 and Nene #31 of the Denver Nuggets in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2011 at
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Nuggets actually played a really good game until the last minute. There were two plays in the last minute that hurt the Nuggets. The first was Kenyon Martin shooting a 22-foot jumper toward the end of the shot clock and the second was the missed goaltend on a tip by Kendrick Perkins.

    The Nuggets had the opportunity to go up three or four but they were forced to take the bad shot by Martin. If they could have scored, the outcome of the game possibly would have been different. Then the repercussion of this miss was the missed goaltend by Kendrick Perkins. If they would've scored on the previous possession, the tip in wouldn't have mattered as much.

    Other than that, the Nuggets played a great game. George Karl came out and said most of the shots Durant and Westbrook made were contested jumpers and that he was not going to send double teams at them. If this is the case, the Nuggets need to work on shutting down everyone else.

    If the Nuggets can force Westbrook and Durant to take the majority of the shots, then they should be able to win. A long as there isn't major productions from bench players, the Nuggets should be fine.

Oklahome City Thunder: Keys to a Game Two Victory

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 17: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates a three-point shot against the Denver Nuggets in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2011 at the Ford Center in Oklah
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Thunder need more production from people not named Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. This is the biggest thing the Thunder need to work on. What if Durant or Westbrook gets hurt or is in foul trouble? Then the Thunder are missing a lot of production.

    Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, and James Harden all need to contribute much more then they did. If two out of these three produce, the Thunder should be fine. Other than this, the Thunder played a really solid game.

    If the Thunder have a slightly improved performance today in Game 2, then they will be on track to win.

Who Will Win Game Two?

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 17: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives to the basket against Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2011 at the Ford Cent
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Game two should be a lot like game one. There will be a lot of Durant and Westbrook from the Thunder and the Nuggets will do their usual win by committee.

    On the Nuggets, look for Wilson Chandler to have a bounce back night and have at least 15 points. On the Thunder, look for Ibaka and Perkins to score more points and grab more rebounds.

    In the end, the Nuggets need this game and they have to feel like they can hang with the Thunder even when Durant and Westbrook go off.

    Denver wins 109-104

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