The Denver Nuggets (39-18) are in action tonight as they’re heading to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat (32-25) for the second time this season. The Nuggets came away with a 124-119 win in a high-scoring matchup the first time these teams met, and the Heat will be looking to get revenge for that loss as they’re trying to push further up the Eastern Conference Standings.
The Nuggets have stumbled a bit as of late. They’re 6-4 in their last 10 games, and they needed a furious comeback on Saturday against the Charlotte Hornets to avoid a two-game losing streak. The team has been dealing with some health issues throughout their starting lineup, and that could still be an issue tonight with multiple starters listed as questionable right now.
The Heat are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and they’re currently riding a three-game winning streak coming into tonight. Despite an injury report longer than my right arm, they just continue to find ways to win. More often than not, they try to slow down the game and make teams work hard on both ends of the floor. By the end of the game, you’re almost too worn out to keep fighting through.
Who: Denver Nuggets (39-18, 13-14 away) @ Miami Heat (32-25, 19-9 home)
When: 5:30 p.m. MST
Where: FTX Arena
How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. NBA TV & League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up in Miami. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio
Rival Blog: Hot Hot Hoops
Expected Starting Lineups:
MIA: PG Gabe Vincent, SG Max Strus, SF Caleb Martin, PF Jimmy Butler, C Bam Adebayo
DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic
Injuries: Jamal Murray (knee) QUESTIONABLE, Zeke Nnaji (shoulder) OUT, Collin Gillsespie (leg) OUT, Aaron Gordon (rib) QUESTIONABLE, Tyler Herro (knee) DOUBTFUL, Gabe Vincent (ankle) PROBABLE, Max Strus (shoulder) PROBABLE, Bam Adebayo (knee) PROBABLE, Haywood Highsmith (elbow) PROBABLE, Udonis Haslem (personal) DOUBTFUL, Nikola Jovic (back) OUT, Kyle Lowry (knee) OUT, Victor Oladipo (ankle) OUT, Duncan Robinson (finger) OUT, Omer Yurtseven (ankle) OUT
Three Things to Watch
In the previous matchup between these two teams, the Nuggets shot 60.7 percent from 3-point range compared to 40 percent for the Heat, and they only won by five. The recently traded Bones Hyland was 5-of-6 from downtown in that game, so someone will have to replace that production. Additionally, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, who combined for seven threes in that previous matchup are both unlikely to play tonight. Who will fill those shoes for Miami?
Second Unit Minutes
In the previous meeting between these teams, the Nuggets got 50 points out of their second unit, and they’ve struggled to replicate that consistency this year. With the number of injuries the Heat are dealing with, Denver should have an advantage in those minutes, and it could go a long way towards a win to finish off this road trip. If they get outplayed in those minutes however, things could get hairy.
Don’t Start Flat
Since putting up 49 points in the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Tuesday, the Nuggets have gotten beaten in back-to-back first halves. The best teams are going to make you pay for that. The Heat thrive in late-game situations, and it’s important to build that lead earlier on. Denver needs to come out with strong sets to get some easy shots so they can see the ball go through the net rather than letting this game turn into a rockfight.