Denver guard Arron Afflalo, who returned to the starting lineup in Game 3 after sitting out the first two games with a strained hamstring, was asked Sunday if the Thunder was better than the Nuggets.
“No, but they're up 3-0, so a win is a win,” Afflalo said. “That's all it means on the scoreboard.”
Was OKC better than they thought it would be?
“I think they're good,” Afflalo said. “They're good. They're a good basketball team, but do you reverse it and say we're the best team if we make five more free throws and we win the game? Now we're up 3-0. Now we're so much better than them? No. They won the game. That's just what it is. The object is to outscore your opponent and they've done that. Whether it's by them being a better basketball team or by us making improvements, either way we just need to find a way to win.”
Nuggets reserve guard J.R. Smith said he was not surprised by OKC.
“They've been playing well all season,” Smith said. “They have two All-Stars (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook). One guy brought a lot of attitude and enthusiasm to the team (Kendrick Perkins) and that's what they were missing. They got what they were looking for.”
CAUSE AND EFFECT
Denver coach George Karl was asked if the results thus far have been because of X's and O's, how the Thunder has guarded or because his team has been timid.
“I would say it is all of the above,” Karl said. “Young guys on the Broadway stage for the first time. I think it's a little bit X's and O's. It's also Oklahoma City does a good job against some of our strengths. We like the rim, and they have four defenders that like to protect the rim, and do it pretty well.”
GO, RED SOX
No team has come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs to win a series, but the Boston Red Sox came back from being down 3-0 to beat the New York Yankees and advanced to the 2004 World Series.
“This ain't baseball,” Smith said. “I don't think it's harder, it's basketball. Different circumstances.”
Nuggets starting forward Danilo Gallinari reportedly has a sore Achilles. “I expect Gallo to play,” Karl said.
Afflalo said his hamstring is fine.
No injuries reported from the Thunder.
“They're embarrassing us.” — Smith