Thunder vs. Nuggets: Can Denver extinguish Kevin Durant?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets have the home court advantage, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are rumbling behind the hot-shooting Kevin Durant.

Kevin Durant is on a roll, more so than Kevin Durant is usually.

His Oklahoma City Thunder face the Nuggets in Denver, and while George Karl's team is 15-3 at home, it faces an uphill climb as high as the Rocky Mountains on Sunday.

Durant is coming off a career-high, 52-point performance against the Dallas Mavericks. A career 47 percent shooter, Durant is hitting 54 percent of his shots in the past 10 games for the Thunder, and he's averaging 37.6 in his last five outings. The bad news?

That ridiculous average was weighed down by a 20-point performance against the Nuggets on Wednesday; it was 20 points because he played just 29 minutes and went 7-of-12 from the floor during a 117-97 blowout in Oklahoma City.

That's not to say Denver doesn't have the firepower to hang with Durant, Russell Westbrook and a Thunder team going for their seventh straight victory. The Nuggets are the fifth-highest scoring team in the NBA at 102.7 points per game. The Thunder are the most efficient offensive team in the NBA, and they average 113 points per 100 possessions, according to Scott Brooks' squad is also sixth in the league in defensive rating.

Winning six straight themselves, the Nuggets came back to earth against the Thunder on Wednesday and then fell, 112-108, to the rising Washington Wizards on Friday.

One player who will look to redeem himself is point guard Ty Lawson, who dropped 29 on the Wizards in a losing effort and has scored 20 in three of his last four games. He was one player to struggle mightily against Oklahoma City less than a week ago, scoring just two points and turning the ball over four times in 20 minutes.

The point guard competition might be the thing to watch.

Andre Miller and Lawson struggled to contain Westbrook, who went 12-of-20 from the floor for 32 points in what would appear to be a matchup problem for Denver.

Add in Durant, and the Nuggets' impressive record in the Pepsi Center could risk taking a hit.

Time: 8 p.m. ET

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