Many of Denver's Game 2 adjustments will be trying to reduce the damage Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook inflicted, scoring a combined 72 points on 25-of-45 shooting.
Questions already have surfaced as to whether the tandem can be stopped.
“Can you stop anybody in this league?” Denver forward Kenyon Martin asked Monday. “No. You can contain them. They made tough shots. They're two great players. They're one of the highest scoring tandems in this league. They made tough shots. They made contested 3s. If Russell Westbrook is making contested 3s then you tilt your hat, pat him on his ass and go down the other way.”
The Nuggets will focus on turning Durant and Westbrook into passers on Wednesday.
Denver coach George Karl said any adjustments will be slight. He isn't planning to overreact to two great individual performances.
“Let me whisper this,” Karl said. “I don't think Durant and Westbrook are going to get (72) points in four games.”
‘COULD GO EITHER WAY'
Durant cautioned Monday the Thunder has yet to accomplish anything with a Game 1 win over Denver.
“This series could go either way,” Durant said. “We (saw) that last year. We were down 2-0 and tied the series up when we came back home. I think we did what we're supposed to do. Any team with home-court advantage is supposed to win the first game.”
Prior to Game 1, Martin gave his frontcourt mate a pep talk.
He told center Nene the Thunder couldn't guard him. The only thing OKC could try to do, Martin said, was frustrate him.
Martin must be some kind of motivational speaker. Nene poured in a team-high 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting along with a team-high tying eight rebounds. In the four-game regular season series, Nene averaged 15.5 points and 8.8 rebounds against the Thunder.
“He came out and took it to heart and we did an excellent job of finding him under the defense,” Martin said. “They can't guard him. He's too quick, too strong. They might try to body him up but he can go around them. So the only thing they can do is try to frustrate him.”
Denver ranked No. 3 in the NBA in 3-point percentage at 38.8 percent during the regular season and the Thunder was No. 19 at 34.7 percent. In Game 1, the Thunder shot 47.4 percent (9 for 19) and the Nuggets 25.0 percent (4 for 16), including 0 for 7 in the second half.
OKC was No. 1 in the league in free-throw percentage at 82.3 percent, the fifth-best accuracy in NBA history. Denver was No. 16 at 76.5 percent. On Sunday, the Thunder shot 78.6 percent and the Nuggets 63.6 percent. In the second quarter, Denver went 8 for 15 (.533) and OKC 4 for 7 (.571).
“When you miss free throws, as many as we miss in a row, it kind of takes your confidence away a little bit,” Karl said. “You have to rebuild it in the game and that's difficult to do in a playoff game on the road.”
PERKINS CREDITS HARDEN
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said Monday that he thought James Harden was a big key in Sunday's Game 1 win.
Harden played 25:48 Sunday and scored five points on 1-of-5 shooting. But Perkins was talking about Harden's defense on J.R. Smith.
“He did a great job on playing J.R. Smith,” Perkins said of Harden. “J.R. Smith is the X-factor for them.”
Smith has been Denver's leading scorer since its February trade of Carmelo Anthony. But Sunday night, with Harden guarding him a good portion of the time, Smith had just nine points on 3-of-8 shooting, and two of his baskets came in the fourth quarter, on fast-breaks. The other basket came with Daequan Cook guarding Smith, who zipped right past Cook for an easy layup.
“Even though James didn't score much or do much offensively, I thought he played great defense,” Perkins said.
Several Nuggets players did not practice Monday, including Martin, Nene, Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton.
“I think everybody will play, except Arron is still up in the air,” Karl said.
Karl when asked if Seattle's history should be recognized in Oklahoma City: “That's a sensitive bag of worms right there, baby.”