The Denver Nuggets are hosting the Brooklyn Nets tonight in a rematch of their contest from October 29th, which Denver won by 13 after starting the game like the New York nightlife might win another contest. The Nuggets rallied, though, with some spectacular offense that produced a 40-point third quarter and a finish that didn’t indicate the first-half back-and-forth. Now Brooklyn is coming in on the second half of a back-to-back on the road, the Nuggets have to be the ones that come out hard and keep their foot on the gas the whole game.
Who: Denver Nuggets (5-5) vs Brooklyn Nets (4-6)
When: 7:00 PM MST
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver CO
How to watch/listen: Altitude, League Pass
Injury Report: Jeremy Lin (knee) out, Jarrett Allen (foot) doubtful, Trevor Booker (back) doubtful, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (hip) questionable, Juancho Hernangomez (mono) out.
Three things to watch for
Emmanuel Mudiay vs D’Angelo Russell, part whatever. Mudiay always takes this matchup personally, as he has felt from the beginning he was the best point guard in that draft. Right now that’s like saying he’s the best one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but both players are making some necessary improvements to their games - the kinds of improvements you hope for from players so young. Russell As the more-heralded teenage point guard class of 2017 is currently proving, it’s not easy to be given the reins at such a young age in the NBA.
The Nuggets are being patient with Mudiay and trying to put him in the right positions to succeed with his current skillset, and he’s responding with one of the most efficient stretches of his career. Now that Eric Bledsoe looks to be going to the Bucks the point guard deals for Denver are no longer on the table. Mudiay and Jamal Murray will continue to fight it out, and I expect Mudiay to want to throw haymakers tonight. Hopefully they connect.
Lots of points. The Nets are the second-highest scoring team in the league, partly because they seem to be reincarnating the Westhead Nuggets and don’t even try to defend anyone on the other end. The points will be there for the taking for Denver, and running the Nets off the court at altitude has always been a recipe for Denver success. Hopefully the Nuggets remember to bring a little defense though - a little is all it should take.
Small Ball or Big Ball? The Nets have been playing a lot of small ball with some injuries to their bigs, and Denver doesn’t have a ton of wing depth, having to play extra guards like Malik Beasley or swingmen like Will Barton in place of true small forwards. For several stretches they have chosen to go with big lineups like Plumlee/Jokic front court pairings in lieu of matching small ball, with middling results. The Nuggets have to figure out how to play teams that want to reduce their size advantage, and this is a good game to get those rotation kinks out.
Prediction: 109-101, Nuggets.