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Denver Nuggets face Los Angeles Lakers in third preseason game

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The Nuggets look to stay undefeated in the preseason with their second consecutive game against the Lakers tonight.

NBA: Preseason-Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, there are other things on television to watch tonight, but the real debate to watch for Nuggets fans is how Emmanuel Mudiay will do against D’Angelo Russell.

The Nuggets play their second consecutive preseason game against the Lakers, giving fans another chance to watch the No. 2 pick in the draft, Brandon Ingram, miss jumpers while the No. 7 pick in the draft, Jamal Murray, makes clutch baskets to give the Nuggets a win.

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers

When: 7:30 PM MT

Where: Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California

How to watch: NBATV

Rival blog: Silver Screen & Roll

Starting Lineups

Denver Nuggets Los Angeles Lakers Advantage
PG Emmanuel Mudiay D'Angelo Russell Lakers
SG Will Barton Lou Williams None
SF Danilo Gallinari Luol Deng Nuggets
PF Nikola Jokic Julius Randle Nuggets
C Jusuf Nurkic Timofey Mozgov Nuggets
Key Bench Guys Jameer Nelson, Jamal Murray, Malik Beasley, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Juancho Hernangomez Jose Calderon, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance, Traik Black Nuggets

Three Questions

What will it take for Emmanuel Mudiay to have a good night shooting the ball? We Nuggets fans are blessed to have a high-character, responsible point guard to be the leader of the team. But as nice as it is to have Mudiay show leadership on the court, he’s shooting 23.8 percent on field goal attempts, and he’s made one out of seven 3-point attempts.

If the Nuggets are going to be starting Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic in the frontcourt, there’s no polite way to say this - Mudiay can’t keep chucking up that kind of shit. He’s going to struggle to find space near the rim with two big men near the basket, and he’s going to need to hit 3-pointers to help spread the floor.

The Nuggets may need to run some plays for him where he’s able to cut to the basket and finish off a pass from Jokic or Nurkic. Maybe they need to play Mudiay with another distributor like Jamal Murray or Jameer Nelson. But if he continues to show that he’s not able to score at historically bad rates, it might be time to start worrying a little - and that’s coming from someone that has really high hopes for him.

Paging JaKarr Sampson and Axel Toupane! Your flight is boarding! After two preseason games, the two small forwards that are competing for a roster spot have yet to play a single minute, with Robbie Hummel getting time in the closing minutes of games. I’m sure it’s nice to see what Hummel can do, but why has Mike Miller played?

Toupane and Sampson went to Summer League to try to show the coaches that they deserve a roster spot - have they lost that opportunity though? While they’re left cheering on the bench, Jarnell Stokes is getting minutes at center and in my opinion is the front-runner for the final roster spot. While I understand the benefits Stokes brings to the roster, it’ll be a bit of a bummer if the Nuggets don’t have a Frenchman on the roster come opening night.

How will the Nuggets defend the Russell pick and roll? In the first game, the Nuggets were content to have the big man in the pick and roll hang back near the paint and let Russell shoot jumpers. The thing is, that’s kind of playing into his strength - Russell had 20 points in the first half, showing off his smooth left-handed jumper without a defender near him.

While the assignment may involve the guard fighting through the screen to deny the jumper, having the big man hang back for guards to shoot is a dangerous strategy for a team that will be competing against guards like Damian Lillard, Steph Curry, and Chris Paul throughout the season. If D’Angelo Russell is able to get hot, what will those players do against Denver? **shudder**