The Denver Nuggets suffered a loss after winning nine straight when the Oklahoma City Thunder beat them at home on Sunday night. They still live at the top of the Western conference, but they are going to need to bounce back rather quickly with the recent success of teams like the Memphis Grizzlies threatening their top seed.
They are battling the New Orleans Pelicans tonight and the Pelicans are a team that has historically given the Nuggets many issues. Tack on the fact that the Nuggets’ injury report still includes Nikola Jokic as questionable, and there’s a way that this game goes fairly wrong. Though Jamal Murray has done a great job of anchoring the team in Joker’s absence.
Who: Denver Nuggets (33-14, 11-10 away) at New Orleans Pelicans (26-21, 17-6 home)
When: 6:00 p.m. MST
Where: Smoothie King Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
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 New Orleans. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio
Expected Starting Lineups:
NOP: PG CJ McCollum, SG Dyson Daniels, SF Herbert Jones, PF Trey Murphy III, C Jonas Valanciunas
DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic
Zion Williamson (hamstring) OUT, Brandon Ingram (toe) DOUBTFUL, Naji Marshall (toe) QUESTIONABLE
Collin Gillespie (leg) OUT, Nikola Jokic (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, Bones Hyland (finger) QUESTIONABLE, Peyton Watson (adductor) QUESTIONABLE, Michael Porter Jr. (personal reasons) QUESTIONABLE
What to watch for
Who actually suits up for the Nuggets?
This is the biggest question mark as of now as the Nuggets currently have four players listed as questionable. Jokic has missed the Nuggets last two games with a hamstring injury, so hopefully he’s able to suit back up tonight because we know how much better the Nuggets are with #15 in the lineup.
Jamal Murray has done a great job shouldering the load alongside Aaron Gordon with Jokic out, but it’s always nice to have the back-to-back MVP in the lineup. It also seems unlikely that Porter is able to play due to personal reasons, which is understandable. Porter should take all the time he needs before he returns to play and I’m sure the Nuggets are echoing that same sentiment.
How do the Nuggets perform from the free-throw stripe?
Denver lost by two the other night to Oklahoma City as they shot 17-of-33 from the free-throw line, which ultimately was the reason the Nuggets nine game winning streak was snapped. On the season, the Nuggets are shooting just 74.2 percent from the free-throw line, which is 27th best in the NBA. Free throw shooting is certainly something I’ll be keeping an eye on tonight as the Nuggets look to get back into the win column.