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Preview: Denver Nuggets look to avenge loss to New Orleans Pelicans

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Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets, after a bad road trip on the East coast, have bounced back in the past couple of weeks. Tonight, they’ll be looking to extend their winning streak to eight games by taking on the New Orleans Pelicans at home. Earlier in the year, the Pelicans blew the Nuggets out on the road with their high rate of play combined with a night of hot shooting from the floor.

While the Pelicans have won two of their last three games, they had lost 13 straight games prior to that. Denver, meanwhile, after losing five of six games, they’ve ripped off seven in a row, including dominant victories over the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers. This Pelicans team doesn’t have a ton of established stars, outside of Jrue Holiday, but they do have a lot of young talent that likes to get out and run, which the Nuggets have been averse to this season.

This is the first of three straight games at home for Denver, so they’ll be looking to extend their home-winning streak to six games. For New Orleans, they’d like to get their second winning streak of the year.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (21-8, 13-3 home) vs New Orleans Pelicans (8-23, 4-12 away)

When: 8:30 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. Watch on ESPN for the rare nationally televised game. Show up in Denver. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: The Bird Writes

Expected Starting Lineups:

NOP: PG Lonzo Ball, SG Jrue Holiday, SG J.J. Redick, SF Brandon Ingram, PF Derrick Favors

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

Three Things to Watch

Slowing Down Ingram

In the first matchup between these two teams, the Nuggets just had no match for Ingram. He had 25 points on 7-of-12 shooting, and he got to the free throw line for 11 attempts. Ingram does his best work when he gets out in transition, and he’s able to take advantage of his length and athleticism. Barton has been improved on defense this year, and they’ll need his full effort to slow down Ingram tonight.

Paint Defense

In the matchups where Denver has struggled, they have been dominated in transition and in the paint. Center Jahlil Okafor had 26 points in the first matchup, and a lot of that came from the free throw line, where he had 13 attempts. Jokic has the size to body anybody that comes in size, but he has to avoid getting into foul trouble. If he does, the Pelicans could get going downhill and get to the free throw line.

3-point Shooting

Denver was ice cold in the first game, and that doesn’t mesh well when your opponent shoots nearly 50 percent from the floor. Their 3-point percentage has bounced back in a major way, and they’re 12th in the NBA in percentage as things stand. That’s the type of performance they need on a nightly basis when they’re not shooting a high volume of 3-point shots. New Orleans gets out and runs which gives them more shot attempts.