The Denver Nuggets should be up 1-0 in the series.
They know it.
The Oklahoma City Thunder know it.
Even the NBA league office knows it.
Yet despite a complete understanding by most, it is the Thunder who head into Wednesday's Game 2 of the NBA Playoffs up 1-0.
The Nuggets can win - and even up the series as it heads back to Denver - with a little tweaking of their strategy, by focusing in on the Thunder's top two scorers.
OKC's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 72 of the Thunder's 107 points in Game 1. Many of Durant's points were the "No, No, No, YES!" types of buckets - ones where he was either off balance, or had a man in his face. For the Nuggets, and their fans, there is no shame in allowing a guy to score 41 when he is hitting those types of shots.
What Denver can control, though, is Westbrook. He played a man's game on Sunday and it showed with his 31 points. If Denver is OK with allowing Durant to light it up with his ill-advised, yet nothing-but-net shots, then their chances of winning hinge on stopping Westbrook.
Do that, they'll come home on a one-game win streak.
Offensively, the Nuggets simply need to shoot better from the charity stripe. In Game 1, they combined for 21-33 from the line (63.6 percent) in a four-point loss. It can't be overstated that to win in the NBA, especially the playoffs, you can't give away free points, and the Nuggets opted out of 12 from the line.
As always, Denver utilized a balanced attack in the first game of the series. Nene Hilario, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson and Kenyon Martin all contributed double-digit scoring, while J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler added nine apiece.
The game tips at 6:00 p.m. and can be seen on TNT.