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Preview: Nuggets head home to take on rival Timberwolves

A second MVP is so close but yet so far, lots of eyes on Jokić vs Towns tonight.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

After briefly holding the 5th seed, the Denver Nuggets find themselves in 6th place once again. They are only .5 games back from the Utah Jazz though, meaning with a win tonight the Nuggets would be the 5th seed again. The rival Minnesota Timberwolves stand in their way. A Denver win would also tie the season series up at 2 games apiece with Minnesota. While the T-Wolves are 3 games behind the Nuggets, this game could still have a significant impact on the end of the year standings. Jokić leads the overall record between himself and Karl Anthony-Towns 13-8.

The Timberwolves had been making a push for the 6th seed but have fallen off recently. They are 13-7 in their last 20 games but, they are also 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Timberwolves are also fresh off a loss to the Toronto Raptors where Karl Anthony-Towns was held to just 16 points. D’Angelo Russell also shot 3-15 and scored 13 points in that game versus the Raptors.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets are off a scary win against the Indiana Pacers. Despite the game being closer than it should have at the end, a win is a win. Nikola Jokić finished with a Sombor Double, 37 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists while shooting 15-19 from the field. Bones Hyland also provided a much-needed spark and gave the Nuggets 20 points and 7 assists from the bench.

The Essentials:

Who?: The Minnesota Timberwolves (18-21 on the road) @ the Denver Nuggets (22-15 at home)

When?: 7:00 pm (MST)

Where?: Ball Arena, Denver Colorado

How to Watch/Listen?: NBA League Pass, Altitude TV (best of luck), or 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio.

Rival Blog: Canis Hoopus

Injuries:

Den: Jamal Murray (Knee) OUT, Michael Porter Jr. (Back) OUT, Zeke Nnaji () OUT, Vlatko Cancar (Foot) OUT

Min: Malik Beasley (Ankle) OUT, Jaden McDaniels (Ankle) OUT

Expected Starters:

Den: Monte Morris (PG), Will Barton (SG), Aaron Gordon (SF), Jeff Green (PF), Nikola Jokić (C).

Min: Patrick Beverly (PG), D’Angelo Russell (SG), Anthony Edwards (SF), Jarred Vanderbilt (PF), Karl Anthony-Towns (C).

Three Things to Watch for:

Anthony Edwards or D-Lo stepping up.

With Aaron Gordon likely picking up Anthony Edwards on defense, that leaves Monte Morris or Will Barton to pick up D’Angelo Russell. If D-Lo has a good shooting night and can run the offense well it would free up Edwards off-ball more as well as make KAT’s life a lot easier on offense. However, if neither player steps up and Karl Anthony-Towns has to shoulder the whole offensive burden it will likely be a Nuggets win.

Another big game from Bones Hyland.

Bones Hyland averaged 14 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds on 51% shooting from the field and 48% from three during March 2022. Bones has completely shattered all expectations set for him this season and since his switch to point guard he has been incredible. Hyland has already helped the Nuggets win numerous games with his shooting and playmaking, he will need to step up against the Timberwolves as well.

Jokić needs help to win.

Nikola Jokić is fresh off a game where he put up 37 points in 36 minutes, by the end of the game he looked exhausted. The Nuggets did get a full day of rest before tonight’s game though. I already mentioned Bones Hyland stepping up but the Nuggets need the rest of the starters and role players to step up too. The Nuggets barely escaped with a win in Indiana and the T-Wolves are a lot better than the Pacers. Hopefully, Denver can get some more offense from the bench and maybe Monte Morris and Aaron Gordon too.