It’s been over two weeks since the Denver Nuggets have won a basketball game. They are on a death spiral, losers of six straight games and have an injury report that seems longer than a CVS receipt. It can only get better from here, right?
Well, it sure won’t be easy. The Nuggets embark tonight on the toughest stretch of the season, a seven-game road trip spanning six cities over the course of 13 days. First up is a rematch against the Miami Heat in a game that has been circled on calendars since there were 2:39 seconds left in Denver’s 113-96 win on November 8 when a kerfuffle broke out thanks to an unwarranted rough foul on Nikola Jokic by Markieff Morris.
Since then, the Heat have gone 6-4 (all without Morris) and sit in second place in the East. The Nuggets survived Jokic’s suspension and finished off that five-game homestand with a perfect record, then immediately fell off a cliff. Jokic hurt his wrist against Philadelphia and has missed four games since and PJ Dozier suffered an ACL injury in Portland a few nights later. MPJ continues to be out due to back pain. To the surprise of no one, the Nuggets aren’t a good team without their three best players in Jokic, Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
Any win at this point will provide solace to a team that’s deeply hurting.
Who: Denver Nuggets (9-10) at Miami Heat (13-7)
Where: FTX Arena, Miami, FL
When: 5:30pm MT
How to Watch: Altitude/NBATV
Rival Blog: Hot Hot Hoops
If you are tuning into this game just to see any drama between Nikola Jokic and either Markieff Morris or Jimmy Butler, you might be disappointed. Heat veteran Udonis Haslem squashed any semblance that the Heat actually have something to settle with the Joker: “Nobody got time for that. Life is too short. It’s over with.” Haslem sets the tone internally for Miami, so if he says it’s over you can bet that it’s most likely over.
I can’t validate whether or not the Jokic brothers actually bought tickets to the game tonight, but they might be disappointed too because Jokic’s injury status remains questionable. Jokic has gone through warmups the past few games before ultimately being announced as out. At this point, it’s unclear how serious Jokic’s injury actually is but we all hope he comes back soon.
If Jokic doesn’t play then good luck to the Nuggets. To their credit, the remnants of the roster have played their hearts out against some really good teams but it simply hasn’t been enough. With Jokic anything is possible.