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Preview: Denver Nuggets look to keep rolling against Washington Wizards

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Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Since a close loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Denver Nuggets have now ripped off five straight wins, including two over a couple of the league’s best teams in the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics. On Tuesday night, they’ll be faced with an easier task in the form of the Washington Wizards. This means it’s time for the Isaiah Thomas revenge game where he goes for 30+ points.

After years of riding the Nikola Jokic train, Jamal Murray and the rest of the supporting cast have been carrying the big fella. In Sunday’s win over the Phoenix Suns, Jokic scored just eight points, but they got over 20 points from Murray, Will Barton and Paul Millsap. Washington, without an elite defensive center, could be a big game for Jokic and backup center Mason Plumlee.

The Nuggets are still just a hair behind the Los Angeles Lakers (14-2) in the Western Conference standings, and they’re a week away from a huge matchup with that team. If they want to make sure that matchup matters even more, then they have to take care of business against this Wizards team.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (12-3, 7-2 home) vs Washington Wizards (5-9, 2-5 away)

When: 7:00 p.m. MST

Where: Pepsi Center

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless its the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up in Denver. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Bullets Forever

Expected Starting Lineups:

WAS: PG Isaiah Thomas, SG Bradley Beal, SF Troy Brown, PF Rui Hachimura, C Thomas Bryant

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Gary Harris, SF Will Barton, PF Paul Millsap, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Ian Mahimi (Achilles) Out, John Wall (Achilles) Out, Bol Bol (Foot) Out, Mason Plumlee (Headache) Day-to-Day

Three Things to Watch

Is this the Jokic game?

Every game, we’re sitting here wondering if it’s going to be the signature game that makes everyone remember just how good he is. Yet, we haven’t seen that from him so far this season. He’s averaging just 16.7 points per game, and he’s shooting just 46.5 percent from the field. The Wizards have no one in the frontcourt that can defend Jokic at an even average level. If it’s going to happen, it makes sense for it to be this game.

Will the Wizards pace hurt Denver?

In two of their three losses this season, the Nuggets were run ragged by teams, New Orleans Pelicans and Atlanta Hawks, that play at a high pace. Denver slows the game down, especially on offense, but the Wizards don’t want to play that way. They’re fifth in the NBA in pace, and they have the number two offense in the NBA because of their fast pace. If Denver is sloppy or doesn’t get back in transition, a lot of bad could happen for the Nuggets.

Bradley Beal

He’s currently fourth in the NBA in points per game at 26.1 per, and he’s shooting 47.1 percent in the process. The Nuggets were able to slow down James Harden, but they have been torched by guards at times this season. It’s not going to be an individual effort, and it’s going to take the entire team. When they lost to the Hawks, Trae Young was able to torch them. That can’t happen if they intend to come out of this game with a win.