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Thunder Vs. Nuggets: Denver Seeks Home Court Turnaround

The Denver Nuggets return to the Pepsi Center down 2-0 in their opening round series of the 2011 NBA Playoffs with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The story is well known: the Nuggets play a close game with the Thunder in Game 1, but lose partially on a goaltending non-call and a good number of missed free throws. Game 2 starts and the Nuggets look flat, let Oklahoma City build a 26-point lead at one point in the second quarter. After recovering in the second half to a small degree, the Nuggets still loves in a blowout, 106-89.

The Nuggets will need to keep Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook quiet if they hope to win this game. In Game 1, the two combined for 72 points and then followed that up in Game 2 with 44 combined points. The Thunder also dominated the boards in Game 2, outrebounding the Nuggets, 54-31. Seventeen of the Thunder's 54 were on the offensive glass, the Nuggets just five. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins combined for 23 in that game.

After shooting 50.6 percent from the field in Game 1, the Nuggets couldn't make a basket for the first four minutes of Game 2 and shot in the low-20s at one point. They improved to just below 40 percent by game's end, but the team has lacked a player who is ready to step up and make those key shots. J.R. Smith's troubles and future with the club have acted up recently.

The expected return of Arron Afflalo may provide a boost to the Nuggets, but how effective will he be after recovering from a strained left hamstring?

Tip-off is scheduled for around 8:00 p.m. MT, and Altitude and ESPN (for those out of market) will televise the game.