The Denver Nuggets find themselves in a 3-0 hole, one game from elimination. But, when asked Sunday night who the better team was, Denver guard Arron Afflalo did not hesitate to stand by his Denver Nuggets, who he still believes is a better team than the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“No, but they’re up 3-0, so a win is a win,” Afflalo said on Sunday when asked if Oklahoma City is the better team. “That’s all it means on the scoreboard.”
Arron Afflalo returned to the Denver Nuggets starting lineup on Saturday night and the Nuggets hoped the return would spark the team to a win when they desperately needed it.
Despite falling behind the Oklahoma City Thunder, 2-0, George Karl believed his team was on the brink of coming back. The Oklahoma City Thunder won the first game of the series, partially because of a bad non-call at the end on a Kendrick Perkins goaltending. While Oklahoma City blew out Denver in the second game, the series headed to the safe confines of the Pepsi Center and, two wins at home would even the series back up.
“We can make some adjustments on (Kevin) Durant and (Russell) Westbrook and keep controlling their other guys and we can make it a heck of a series,” Denver head coach George Karl said.
With Arron Afflalo back in the fold, it looked like Denver would be ready for the Thunder in game three with their home fans cheering them on. Affalo finished the regular season with a scoring average of 12.6 ppg and he was expected to get in the face of Russell Westbrook, a player prone to turnovers, and work to even things back up for the Nuggets.
It didn’t work as Serge Ibaka fired off a career game with 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead Oklahoma City to the big win in Denver. Now, Denver finds themselves facing history as no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven NBA playoff series. The loss was the fifth straight for the Nuggets to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“That’s what they’re doing to us right now,” J.R. Smith said. “They’re embarrassing us. They’re up 3-0 and we’re in a real tough position, and we have to fight back.”
Now Oklahoma City looks for the sweep on Monday night against the Denver Nuggets. If the Thunder wins, they face the winner of the San Antonio Spurs/Memphis Grizzlies series, which is knotted up at two.
“This is always the toughest game,” Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “Every team feels the same, you don’t want to go home. You always want to keep competing because you never know what can happen.”
Tip off for game four is Monday night, April 25, at 9:30 p.m. ET and will air on Fox Sports Oklahoma HD and TNT.
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