After coming up empty in a pair of road games, the Denver Nuggets are probably looking forward to staying at home for a few days.
Awaiting them in their return, however, will be one of the NBA’s hottest teams.
The Nuggets will try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, winners of 12 of 14.
During a two-game trip to face the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix, Denver (39-21) suffered consecutive defeats for the first time since dropping three straight from Dec. 25-28. After falling 95-89 to the Western Conference-leading Lakers, the Nuggets lost 101-85 to the Suns on Monday night.
The Nuggets built a nine-point lead after one quarter but couldn’t recover after getting outscored 33-11 over the next 12 minutes, recording their lowest point total for any quarter this season. Star forward Carmelo Anthony(notes) missed 14 of 21 shots overall and finished with 17 points for his lowest output since Dec. 27.
“We’re not happy now but a week from now, hopefully after we win a few home games, we will be happy,” coach George Karl said.
Winning the opener of their three-game homestand would probably make Karl very happy considering how his team performed in its previous meeting with the Thunder (36-23) on Jan. 29.
The Nuggets shot 40.3 percent while getting blown out 101-84, and the Thunder connected at a 51.9 percent clip as they snapped a five-game slide in the series. Kevin Durant(notes) scored 30 points and shot 12 for 19.
That was the first of 12 wins in a stretch of 14 games for Oklahoma City, which continued the surge with a 113-107 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Durant once again led Oklahoma City with 39 points, the 32nd time in 33 games he’s had at least 25. The All-Star forward has also scored at least 30 points in his last six meetings with Denver, averaging 32.3.
However, Durant wasn’t completely pleased with the Thunder’s performance against the Kings after they allowed an opponent to reach the century mark for only the sixth time in 21 games.
“We’re satisfied with the win. Of course, we didn’t play the way we wanted to, but you’re going to have games like that,” Durant said. “I think that we did a better job of responding to that and coming out and scoring points and getting everybody involved, and we got stops when we needed them.”
The Thunder, winners of five of six on the road, haven’t won in Denver since relocating to Oklahoma City from Seattle. The franchise has dropped five straight at the Pepsi Center since March 28, 2007, including a 102-93 defeat Dec. 14.
Anthony scored 31 points in that win and has averaged 30.8 points in the last six matchups with the Thunder, but an ankle injury kept him out of the loss in Oklahoma City in January.