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Thunder notebook: Denver focused on stopping Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook

By Darnell Mayberry, John Rohde and Berry Tramel, Staff Writers Published: April 18, 2011


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.”


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.”


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