The Denver Nuggets are set to match up with the Indiana Pacers for the second time in eight days. The first game ended in heartbreak for the road team, as Paul Millsap hit a clutch game winner to seal the win for the Nuggets after Nikola Jokic was ejected a few minutes earlier. Unfortunately for the Pacers, that game ended up being the first of four consecutive losses for them in their road trip against some of the best teams in the Western Conference. The Pacers return home to seek revenge against the Nuggets, who are on a six-game winning streak and wrapping up a four-game road trip of their own. Coincidentally enough, the Nuggets played the Pacers at the end of their undefeated home stand a week ago. If the Nuggets can win today, they will have an undefeated road trip to match.
Who: Denver Nuggets (49-22) at Indiana Pacers (44-29)
When: 3:00 P.M. MT
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
How to watch: Altitude TV, AltitudeNOW.com, the AltitudeNOW app and Altitude Radio 92.5FM
Rival blog: Indy Cornrows
Injured players: Michael Porter Jr - out (back), Victor Oladipo - out (knee), Darren Collision - game time decision (quadriceps)
Key matchup: Myles Turner vs. Nikola Jokic
Jokic was definitely the better player between the two centers in the last matchup, but it was an incident under the basket involving Turner that prompted Jokic to lose his cool with ref Tony Brothers that resulted in his ejection. It will be interesting to see if Jokic uses that as motivation for today’s game. Turner is definitely a lot to handle for any player with averages of 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. He’s also a good defensive player. Jokic was still able to score 26 points last week in the matchup prior to his early dismissal. If Jokic can have similar success on the offensive end and limit Turner on the glass, he should win the matchup easily.
Key Thing to Watch for: Intensity
Despite the fact that the Nuggets are on a six-game winning streak, the intensity has not been where it should be in the last week. It’s almost as if the team has coasted for stretches before hitting the gas when it’s needed. It’s no secret that the team has had a tendency this season to play down to their competition. Hopefully that won’t be a problem against a Pacers team that has been overachieving all season and currently sits fourth in the improved Eastern Conference. The intensity will definitely need to be there tomorrow, as the Nuggets are at the end of a week-long road trip and are facing a team hungry for a win and for revenge.
Opening Thought: This win would be nice
I can’t remember the last time the Nuggets went on an extended road trip and went undefeated. The Nuggets have already clinched a playoff spot, but there’s still a lot to play for. Going 4-0 on a road trip at this point in the season would be a huge accomplishment. It would especially be nice considering the upcoming schedule. Every win will help the Nuggets either get closer to the Golden State Warriors for the first seed or to clinching at least the second seed. A 7-game winning streak sounds pretty nice.