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Kevin Durant, Thunder suddenly find themselves in a tight race

The Pepsi Center in Denver is one of only four venues where Kevin Durant hasn't earned a win. But Tuesday night's game there will be critical if Oklahoma City wants to hold on to its Northwest Division lead, Western Conference fourth seed and home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 4, 2011

“We know how important all these games are,” said Collison, who scored 16 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a game-high 43 minutes the last time the franchise won in Denver. “We know how important it is to get home court. With that being said, we also know that the best way of doing that is to just focus on the next game at hand.”

The Nuggets own the league's third-best home record at 31-7. Denver is 9-0 at home since trading Anthony, with four of those wins coming against Memphis, Boston, Atlanta and San Antonio, all teams headed toward the playoffs.

The challenge for the Thunder will be to contain a Nuggets offense that has seamlessly transitioned from having one star dominate as a scorer to one that now boasts eight players that can dump in 15 to 20 points on any given night.

The Nuggets have averaged only one fewer point since the trade but have held teams to 7.9 fewer points. Denver also has improved its rebounding by four per game, while upping its assists by an average of 3.4 and its steals by 2.2 per game post-Anthony.

“We've been playing great together thus far,” said Nuggets point guard Raymond Felton. “We're playing great together as a unit offensively and defensively. But I think the main thing is our defense has been great. We've been helping each other, keeping guys in front of us (and) rebounding when we're supposed to.”

Needless to say, Tuesday night will be tough for the Thunder. But OKC is hoping for the best.

“Hopefully we win the division and get the fourth spot or move up maybe,” Durant said.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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