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Preview: Nuggets continue homestand against Pacers

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The Nuggets will face off against an Eastern Conference opponent they played just before the All-Star break, and will look to repeat that performance Monday night.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The snow gods have blessed the Denver area with a ridiculous amount of snow, and now the basketball gods will bless us with a nice Monday night matchup between the Indiana Pacers and the Nuggets.

In a typical year, getting two feet of snow in the Denver metro area would be a recipe for an enthusiastic, if small, crowd at the Nuggets home area. Those fans that are able to safely get to the arena let their voices be heard, and those snow games are usually some of the most entertaining games of the season. With fans unable to attend due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the team won’t get the advantage of having fans tonight, and will have to find the drive to beat the Pistons on their own.

Hopefully the Pacers are able to make it into Denver safely and avoid any pitfalls with the weather, and the two teams are able to face each other at full strength.

The Basics

Who: Indiana Pacers (17-20) vs Denver Nuggets (22-16)

When: 7:00 PM MT

Where: Ball Arena, Denver, CO

How to Watch: Altitude, NBA League Pass

Rival Blog: Indy Cornrows

Projected Lineups

Untitled

POS DEN IND EDGE
POS DEN IND EDGE
PG Monté Morris Malcolm Brogdon Pacers
SG Jamal Murray Justin Holiday Nuggets
SF Will Barton Caris LeVert Even
PF Michael Porter Jr. Domantas Sabonis Pacers
C Nikola Jokic Myles Turner Nuggets
BENCH Facu Campazzo, PJ Dozier, Paul Millsap, Jamychal Green, Isaiah Hartenstein Doug McDermott, TJ McConnell, Edmond Sumner, Aaron Holiday, Goga Bitadze Even

Injury Report: Monte Morris, Zeke Nnaji, Nikola Jokic, Jeremy Lamb - day-to-day; Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, TJ Warren, Jeremy Lamb - out

Three Things to Watch

Sabonis/Turner vs MPJ/Jokic. If Monte Morris is unable to go, I would expect to see Paul Millsap or JaMychal Green in the starting lineup for the Nuggets. The Pacers bigs are a tough matchup for most teams, and having MPJ defend one of those two can be a tough ask. Turner defended Jokic well in their previous matchup, and Denver has to hope for Jokic to have a big night to help them get back in the win column after dropping a tough game to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

Bench matchups. The Nuggets bench killed the Pacers in their first game, with PJ Dozier having his best game of the season. The second unit will thrive if Jamal Murray is able to add his scoring to them to start the second quarter, but if Murray’s shot isn’t falling, who is going to score for Denver? They need someone to put the ball in the net efficiently, to help ease the burden Murray carries. They can’t get beat by Doug McDermott and TJ McConnnell and expect to win the game.

What does LeVert bring? The Pacers were without Caris LeVert the last time they played, with the former Brooklyn Net out with a health issue regarding his kidney (I’m no doctor folks). He’s back now, and if he plays, he adds another ballhandling, playmaking wing threat. LeVert is a crafty, talented player, and a guy the Nuggets will need to gameplan against. He could be a big X-factor in this matchup tonight.

Prediction

Indiana Pacers 110 - Denver Nuggets 108.