The Denver Nuggets (37-17) are in action tonight following a little bit of rest after four games in six nights last week, and they’re welcoming the Minnesota Timberwolves (29-27) to town for the fourth and final meeting between these teams for this season. Because of the NBA’s scheduling, all four of these matchups will have taken place since January 2nd. This is the first time this year that the game will be taking place without the Nuggets being on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Nuggets are 6-4 in their last 10 games, but that doesn’t tell the full tale of the tape. The team rested four of their five starters on Sunday against the Timberwolves on the second night of a back-to-back with all four of them nursing injuries. Of their other three losses during that stretch, Nikola Jokic played in just one of those contests, which was a road matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.
For the Timberwolves, they’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, and one of those losses was in overtime to the third-place Sacramento Kings. Another came to the Orlando Magic on Friday night that was highlighted by the scuffle between Austin Rivers and Mo Bamba that saw each of them suspended multiple games, along with a one-game suspension for Jalen Suggs.
Who: Denver Nuggets (37-17, 25-4 home) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (29-27, 9-15 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: Canis Hoopus
Expected Starting Lineups:
MIN: PG D’Angelo Russell, SG Anthony Edwards, SF Jaden McDaniels, PF Kyle Anderson, C Rudy Gobert
DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic
Injuries: Jamal Murray (knee) PROBABLE, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle) PROBABLE, Aaron Gordon (ankle) PROBABLE, Nikola Jokic (hamstring) PROBABLE, Jack White (thigh) PROBABLE, Zeke Nnaji (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE, Collin Gillsespie (leg) OUT, Kyle Anderson (back) QUESTIONABLE, Rudy Gobert (groin) QUESTIONABLE, Jordan McLaughlin (calf) QUESTIONABLE, Austin Rivers (suspension) OUT, Karl Anthony-Towns (calf) OUT
Three Things to Watch
Last week, Jamal Murray had by far the best stretch of play since he had returned from his injury. He put up 32, 33 and 41 points, which was the first time since February of 2021 that he had scored 30 or more points in three straight games. He also did so while shooting 54.4 percent from the field and 48.6 percent from 3-point range. Can he keep that going tonight in a strong matchup?
In three games against the Nuggets this season, there has consistently been a scorer that has come out of nowhere to put up strong nights against Denver. On January 2nd, Kyle Anderson and Jaden McDaniels combined for 40 points on 15-of-22 shooting. On January 18th, Luka Garza had 16 points while shooting 3-of-5 from 3-point range. He hadn’t made more than two 3-pointers in a game in his career until that night. Focusing on the star players for Minnesota is important, but you can’t forget about the other guys on the floor either.
Get Out of the Gate
On the year, the Nuggets have the league’s best net rating in the first quarter at +13.5, which is 2.5 points better than anyone else, and it is 8.5 points better than the Timberwolves. After taking Sunday night off, there should be no excuses early on, and it’s important for Denver to come firing out of the blocks. If they start the game slow, that opens the door for all kinds of struggles later on in the game.