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Denver Nuggets close out home stand against Washington Wizards

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Bradley Beal is questionable with a case of Manimalitis.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets close out their seven game homestand tonight with a visit from the Washington Wizards. The Nuggets are looking to extend their winning streak to four games and end their time at home with a 5-2 record. In order to do that they'll have to put away a struggling and tired Wizards team on a four game losing streak. However, with star point guard John Wall playing, nothing will be easy.

Wall is the leader of a one of the more disappointing teams this season. After looking like a perennial playoff team and possible Eastern Conference championship contender after last season, the Wizards currently find themselves 2.5 games out of the playoffs. Its hurt them that thier de facto number two guy, Bradley Beal, has dealt with a plethora ailments this season but no one thought it would be this bad.

The Wizards go beyond just Beal and Wall after all, they bolstered their front court scoring with the acquistion of Markieff Morris which gives the Wizards a solid three man rotation at the four and five with Morris, Marcin Gortat and Nene. The Wizards also feature a solid bench that has a combination of good shooters and athletic wings to help keep fresh bodies in the ninth fastest paced team's lineup.

The Basics:

Who: Washington Wizards (30-34) at Denver Nuggets (27-38)

When: 7:30PM MST (friendly reminder, it'll be the last game on MST so set your clock an hour forward tomorrow)

Where: The Can, Denver CO

How to watch/listen: Altitude TV and KRWZ AM 950

Rival blog: Bullets Forever

Washington Wizards Denver Nuggets 
Advantage
PG John Wall Emmanuel Mudiay Wizards
SG Bradley Beal Gary Harris Even
SF Otto Porter Jr. JaKarr Sampson Wizards
PF Markieff Morris Kenneth Faried Even
C Marcin Gortat Nikola Jokic Nuggets
Bench

Nene, Kelly Oubre Jr., Garret Temple, Jared Dudley, Ramon Sessions, Alan Anderson, J.J. Hickson, Drew Gooden

Will Barton, D.J. Augustin, Axel Toupane, Darrell Arthur, Joffrey Lauvergne, Mike Miller, Jusuf Nurkic, Jameer Nelson
Even

Injured Players: Danilo Gallinari - out (ankle), Wilson Chandler - out (hip), Bradley Beal - questionable (hip)

Key match up: John Wall vs Emmanuel Mudiay

Wall and Mudiay is a comparison that happens often when people try to pick out a pro that Dr. Congo could develop into. After all, they're both big point guards who excel at defense and stuggle at shooting. However, Wall is a much faster and more athletic player whereas Mudiay has the better overall court vision (which is saying a lot when comparing someone to Wall). Still, while thier offensive games are a little different there's little doubt that both point guards are the leaders of their team right now and are the biggest threats to score the ball. It will be intriguing to see who can get the better of the other after the two played to a stalemate in the first match up this season.

What to watch for: Can Jusuf Nurkic go for more than 4 minutes?

Nurkic got his first taste of game action in quite a while in the Nuggets last game against the Phoenix Suns. Juka got a total of four minutes as he provided some solid defense at the end of the first half. The Wizards will no doubt pair Nene and Gortat together at some point tonight so perhaps coach Michael Malone will utilize Nurkic in those situations. He's also been using the Nikola Jokic Joffrey Lauvergne pairing more frequently as well when these big man situations arise. While it doesn't look like Nurkic is anywhere close to seizing a twenty minute a game role, tongiht could be another night where he gets some action.

Opening thought: Finish it out strong

The Nuggets really have played well on this home stand. The young core (Mudiay, Jokic, Gary Harris) has also really come together over the past seven games and is scoring at a season high rate. Coach Malone even remarked after the Phoenix game that he'd like to take a poll of the media members to see who predicted Denver would keep the offensive production they have once Danilo Gallinari got injured. Granted their competition has been pretty sub-standard but they've nonetheless delivered. If not for a Brook Lopez tip in and some faltering down the stretch against the Memphis Grizzlies Denver could have very easily gone undefeated. The schedule however is about to get a whole lot more brutal as the season closes so the Nuggets need to not let up tonight and finish out this home stand with a victory. I think they get it done, 106-103.