The Denver Nuggets (9-5) find themselves down potentially 3 starters on the road versus the Dallas Mavericks (8-6). Denver is missing both Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray to Health and Safety protocols, Bones Hyland is unavailable for the same reason and Aaron Gordon is questionable. The Nuggets have not won at Dallas since January 25th, 2021, beating a Luka led team in Dallas is never easy, but while missing Jokić it’s even harder.
Denver currently sits as the 3rd seed in the western conference, the Mavericks are 7th. With a loss tonight, the Nuggets would allow Dallas to jump them in the standings. Tonight’s game is the first of two games in 3 days between these teams. Luka Doncic enters tonight as the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 34.4 points per game so far this season. He has only scored less than 30 points twice this season.
Who: Denver Nuggets (9-5, 5-4 away) @ Dallas Mavericks (8-6, 7-2 home)
When: 6:30 p.m. MST
Where: American Airlines Center
How to watch/listen: NBA League Pass and AltitudeTV for non-Denver markets. 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio
Rival Blog: Mavs Moneyball
Expected Starting Lineups:
DAL: PG Luka Doncic, SG Spencer Dinwiddie, SF Reggie Bullock, PF Dorian Finney-Smith, C Dwight Powell
DEN: PG Bruce Brown, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Aaron Gordon, C DeAndre Jordan
Injuries: Nikola Jokić (H & S Protocols), Jamal Murray (H & S Protocols), Aaron Gordon (Illness), Collin Gillespie (leg), Ish Smith (calf), Maxi Kleber (back)
3 Things to Watch for:
Braun & Watson minutes:
With the Nuggets being down a handful of starters, they will need more production from the bench. Braun has played significant minutes in a few games so far this season, with Jamal Murray out he should get significant run tonight as well. While Peyton Watson on the other hand has not played much, I would imagine he gets some chances tonight. Zeke Nnaji is another player I would almost guarantee gets much more playing time than normal.
Who will step up in Jokić and Murray’s absence:
Denver was missing Jokić last game, Jamal Murray took the most shots on the team and led it in scoring. Now, without both of them, who’s gonna be the leading scorer? MPJ is a likely candidate, but in Wednesday’s game he only had 5 points on 1-8 shooting. Bones Hyland is another likely candidate and so is Bruce Brown. It will be interesting to see the Nuggets offense function without Jokić or Murray.
How does DeAndre Jordan perform in a larger role:
DeAndre Jordan is a new pickup this year to Denver, since his signing he has left mixed feelings with Nuggets fans. With Jokić being out for this game, Jordan is going to have to start again. If he can hold his own against Powell and Wood, Jordan might prove he’s capable of being the backup 5 for the rest of the season. If the opposite happens, Denver might be more inclined to try other options at the 5 or look for a new one by the trade deadline.