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Preview: Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets

The Nuggets look to build a winning streak tonight against the struggling Nets

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After a solid win on Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Nuggets’ road trip continues tonight in Brooklyn as the team takes on the Nets. Denver is looking to capitalize on this Eastern Conference swing and hopes to keep playoff hopes alive as it faces five teams under .500 within the next week. At just 5-15, Brooklyn is near the bottom of the East and is on a three game losing streak after falling to the Washington Wizards on Monday.

But that doesn’t mean this game will be given to Denver on a silver platter. The Nuggets have lost the last five contests against Brooklyn and will be looking to snap that streak tonight. Brooklyn isn’t expected to amount to much this season, but is still a dangerous team that can erupt from time to time. The Nuggets can’t afford to let this be a trap game like they’ve already done so many times this season.

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets (8-13) vs. Brooklyn Nets (5-15)

When: 5:30 PM MST

Where: Barclay’s Center, Brooklyn, NY

How to watch: Altitude

Rival blog: Nets Daily

Position Denver Brooklyn Advantage
PG Emmanuel Mudiay Isaiah Whitehead Nuggets
SG Will Barton Sean Kilpatrick Even
SF Danilo Gallinari Bojan Bogdanovich Nuggets
PF Kenneth Faried Trevor Booker Even
C Jusuf Nurkic Brook Lopez Brooklyn
Bench Jamal Murray,Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur, Juancho Hernangomez, Alonzo Gee Justin Hamilton, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Joe Harris, Randy Foye, Anthony Bennett Nuggets

Injury report: Nikola Jokic - available (wrist), Gary Harris - out (foot), Jeremy Lin - out (hamstring)

Three things to watch:

  1. Sean Kilpatrick. For a while it seemed like Kilpatrick would be nothing more than a journeyman at best, but he’s quickly proven to be a talented player. If you remember, the Nuggets signed Kilpatrick for two 10-day contracts last season but the shooting guard never ended up sticking. Instead, Brooklyn picked him up where this year he has emerged as one of the Nets’ best players. Kilpatrick is averaging 16.4 points per game and has some big games this season, including a 38 point/14 rebound outing over the Clippers. He certainly struggled in his days as a Nugget, but it’s still great to see someone succeed in the league when given the opportunity.
  2. Turnovers galore. The one statistic that has doomed the Nuggets this season is one that surprisingly the team holds as a slight advantage over Brooklyn. Denver is 27th in the league at 15.8 turnovers per game; Brooklyn is tied for 29th at 16.6. The Nets, however, are in the top-half of the league in forcing turnovers (14.1) while Denver sits at 29th (11.6). While it certainly doesn’t make for pretty basketball, the turnover battle could easily dictate the outcome of this game. It’s a ghost that Denver has been trying to put to rest all season long, and tonight is a good night to get a grip on the situation.
  3. Who will step up and score? The Nuggets have once again found themselves in a situation where there is no “one” go-to scorer, but rather have several players that are good for a lower amount of points each. Get this: Denver has six players that average 10 ppg, with another four that average at least 9.0 ppg. Wilson Chandler is the team’s leading scorer at 18.2 ppg, but scored just 10 on Monday in Philadelphia. Gallo, Murray and Barton shouldered the load last game, but Mudiay, Faried and Nelson are also all capable of randomly having huge scoring nights as well. Who will it be tonight?

P.S. Does anyone else find it amusing that Brook Lopez plays for Brooklyn?