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Preview: Denver Nuggets look to get back to their winning ways against Philadelphia 76ers

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Denver Nuggets v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets started the season as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, but they have fallen off in a major way over the last week and a half. Tonight, they have a matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers who are undefeated at home, and, outside of Josh Richardson, they’ll be at full strength. Denver is in a tough stretch of their schedule, and they’ll be looking to turn things around on the road.

Denver has lost four of their last five while Philadelphia has won 10 of their last 12 including two different wins of 20+ points. They trot out a lineup with three different all stars, and that doesn’t include Tobias Harris, who is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. After playing 27 games with Philly last season, he’s already about to clear his points total in less games this season.

Denver is wrapping up a four-game East-coast road trip, and they get five games at home after this swing. Philly would like to keep this run that they’re on rolling as they fight to remain in contention in a top-heavy Eastern Conference.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (14-7, 6-4 away) @ Philadelphia 76ers (17-7, 12-0 home)

When: 6:00 p.m. MST

Where: Wells Fargo 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 Philadelphia. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Liberty Ballers

Expected Starting Lineups:

WAS: PG Ben Simmons, SG Furkan Korkmaz, SF Tobias Harris, PF Al Horford, C Joel Embiid

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

Injuries: Josh Richardson (Hamstring) Out, Zhaire Smith (Leg) Out

Three Things to Watch

Jokic vs Embiid

This will be an interesting matchup on both ends of the floor. Jokic won the matchup in the first game between these two teams with some clutch play down the stretch, but Embiid is still a load for anyone to handle. Among Philly rotation players, he leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks, and he has the defensive ability to bang with Jokic inside. Jokic has improved his play of late, and they’ll need him to keep that up in this game.

Denver’s Shooting

The 76ers are ninth in the NBA in 3-point shooting while the Nuggets are all the way at 17th. In their recent losses, they’ve been cold from 3-point range. The Nuggets have been relying on their defense to win them a lot of games this season, and, if their shooting goes cold, they’ll need it in this matchup. However, if their shots are falling, it will make this matchup a lot easier for Denver.

Defense Against Ben Simmons

Like I said, the Nuggets’ defense has carried them to a lot of wins this season. Against the 76ers in the first matchup, point guard Ben Simmons missed one of the two games that he has missed this season. Murray’s defense has been much improved this season, but guarding Simmons is still a much different animal due to the size mismatch that he presents. If he gets rolling early, Denver could be in a world of trouble.