After being off since Saturday night, the Denver Nuggets (16-10) are back in action tonight with the Washington Wizards (11-17) coming to town. The Nuggets’ long rest will be appreciated with four games in their next seven days. This seems like the first time all season that Denver has spent a significant number of days at home after being on the road for 16 of their first 26 games.
Denver has won back-to-back games after dropping three straight, and they’re looking to win their third straight to strengthen their spot in the standings with some tough opponents coming up on the schedule. They get a Wizards team that has struggled early on this season in large part due to a lineup that is constantly missing various rotation guys due to one injury or another.
Tonight starts a six-game West coast road trip for Washington, and they’re getting a tough matchup right out of the gate. The Nuggets won both games in this matchup last season as Nikola Jokic ran roughshod over them in the two matchups. Now, with more weapons in the arsenal, they’ll be looking to turn the tide a bit in this one.
Who: Denver Nuggets (16-10, 7-3 home) vs Washington Wizards (11-17, 3-10 away)
When: 7:00 p.m. MST
Where: Ball Arena
How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up in Denver. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio
Rival Blog: Bullets Forever
Expected Starting Lineups:
WAS: PG Monte Morris, SG Bradley Beal, SF Deni Avdija, PF Kyle Kuzma, C Kristaps Porzingis
DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Bruce Brown, PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic
Injuries: Collin Gillespie (leg), Michael Porter Jr. (calf), Monte Morris (groin), Bradley Beal (hamstring), Kristaps Porzingis (back), Anthony Gill (heel), Rui Hachimura (ankle), Delon Wright (hamstring)
Three Things to Watch
Some people don’t believe in revenge games in the NBA. With the amount that players seem to switch teams, it’s rare for players to ever be attached to a city. However, both Monte Morris and Will Barton, who were traded to Washington this offseason for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith, have strong ties to the Mile High City. Barton can get hot in a hurry, and, with extra motivation in this matchup, the team needs to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Play Through Aaron Gordon
This is a matchup where Aaron Gordon can really thrive if the team gives him that opportunity. No one on the Wizards has the combination of size and speed to match him, and we’ve seen him feast on teams like this all season long. Jokic and Murray will get their touches, but getting Gordon rolling should be a priority tonight.
The Nuggets have been off since Saturday. There isn’t a world where they should be tired after having such a long rest. However, they can’t afford to start slow as they did a couple of times last week. Coming out strong and getting the offense rolling early can go a long way towards winning the game. Additionally, it gets the crowd behind you at home which can put a hole in the sail of your opponents trying to weather the storm.