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Preview: Nuggets again have to regroup for home game against Knicks

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The Nuggets will be without PJ Dozier, as yet another guard goes down in a game in California as the season winds on. How will Denver soldier on?

Detroit Pistons v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Can we just agree that California is a bad place?

The rent is too dang high, the traffic is bad, the affordable housing is non-existent, and they can’t build anything. Oh, and the Nuggets have lost Jamal Murray, Will Barton, and now P.J. Dozier to injury in games played there.

The way you can tell something bad is about to happen to the Nuggets is the moment you allow yourself to think, “Hey, maybe they’ve got this figured out!” Wham! That’s the exact moment it gets you, that pesky devil we call hope. Nugglife can never be killed, and in fact, will carry on forever.

Not for nothing, but the Knicks are playing good basketball right now too, and Denver has to figure out a way to play against a Tom Thibodeau led defense in order to keep after their goal of making the playoffs. At this rate, they’re going to have to sign Andre Miller to lead the second unit. Is Ty Lawson busy? Randy Foye? Can Aaron Rodgers run a NBA offense too?

The Basics

Who: New York Knicks vs Denver Nuggets

Where: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado

When: 7:00 MDT

How to Watch: Altitude, limited in person availability

Rival Blog: Posting and Toasting

Projected Lineups

Knicks vs Nuggets

POS NYK DEN EDGE
POS NYK DEN EDGE
PG Elfrid Payton Facu Campazzo Even
SG R.J. Barrett Austin Rivers Knicks
SF Reggie Bullock Michael Porter Jr. Nuggets
PF Julius Randle Aaron Gordon Knicks
C Taj Gibson Nikola Jokic Nuggets
BENCH Norvel Pelle, Obi Toppin, Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks Shaq Harrison, Markus Howard, Bol Bol, JaMychal Green, Paul Millsap, JaVale McGee Knicks

Injuries: Nikola Jokic (day-to-day), Will Barton (out), PJ Dozier (out), Jamal Murray (out), Zeke Nnaji (day-to-day), Monte Morris (out); Mitchell Robinson (out), Norvel Pelle (day-to-day), Nerlens Noel (questionable).

Three Things to Watch

Can the Nuggets guards survive a 48 minute game? Honestly, I don’t even want them to make a deep playoff run. Our team has one foot in the grave. Do you realize we have ONE of the seven guards we started the season with available to play? RJ Hampton and Gary Harris were traded; Murray, Morris, Barton and now Dozier are out with injuries. We’re a sprained wrist away from having Markus Howard play 25 minutes of important minutes for the Nuggets alongside Bol Bol in the backcourt. It’s unreal what’s happening to the Nuggets this season.

How do the Nuggets win without ballhandlers? They need to continue to defend at an elite rate, hope they can get transition offense, and get huge games from Michael Porter Jr and Nikola Jokic. They need one other player to have a big night, and they need to win the minutes with JaMychal Green on the court. They need so many things to break their way at this point, it’s a miracle they’re competitive. Give Jokic the MVP award! It’s not like he’s going to forget how to hoop.

Can the Nuggets stop Julius Randle? I’m expecting Aaron Gordon to defend Randle, which leaves Barrett to .... Campazzo? Randle has been a top player in the NBA this year, and has the trust of his head coach to continue to be the primary scoremaker. He’s too powerful for traditional small forwards, and too quick for power forwards. His development has been great to see over the last few months — here’s hoping he regresses against the Nuggets.

Steals and threes. The Nuggets need to get open looks in transition, and knock down their 3-pointers. There may be another path, but this way is fairly certain to work.

Prediction

New York Knicks 118 - Denver Nuggets 105.