Almost a month ago exactly the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics met in Boston. The Celtics emerged victorious in a game that they controlled throughout. Big performances from Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk proved too much for the Nuggets. Now the venue changes to the Pepsi Center (aka The Can) and the Nuggets will be looking for a little revenge.

Denver won’t have to deal with Olynyk as he recovers from a shoulder injury, but they still have the speedy back court combo of Bradley and Isaiah Thomas to contain. Thomas is fresh off his appearance in the All-Star game last weekend and has been enjoying the best season of his career. To support the back court the Celtics will showcase their young front court combo of Jared Sullinger and Jae Crowder.

Meanwhile the Nuggets are looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss in Sacramento on Friday night. After dealing Randy Foye to the Thunder on Thursday, Denver will look to continue to integrate new back up point guard D.J. Augustin who will be playing his second game for the powder blue and gold. The rest of the team needs to build on the chemistry they created before the break. The Celtics kick off a stretch of 9 of 11 games at home for the Nuggets, which will play a major role on whether or not they will compete for the playoffs this season.

The Basics

Who: Boston Celtics (32-24) at Denver Nuggets (22-33)

When: 3PM MST

Where: The Can, Denver CO

How to watch/listen: Altitude TV and KRWZ AM 950

Rival blog: Celtics Blog

Boston Celtics Denver Nuggets Advantage
PG Isaiah Thomas Emmanuel Mudiay Celtics
SG Avery Bradley Gary Harris Celtics
SF Jae Crowder Danilo Gallinari Even
PF Amir Johnson Kenneth Faried Nuggets
C Jared Sullinger Nikola Jokic Nuggets
Bench Marcus Smart, Evan Turner, Tyler Zeller, Jonas Jerebko, Jordan Mickey, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, James Young Will Barton, Jusuf Nurkic, Darrell Arthur, D.J. Augustin, Joffrey Lauvergne, Mike Miller Even

Injured players: Jameer Nelson – doubtful (wrist), Wilson Chandler – out (hip), Kelly Olynyk – out (shoulder)

Key match up: Isaiah Thomas vs Emmanuel Mudiay

A re-match of the first round of the Taco Bell Skills Challenge over All-Star Weekend in which Thomas was victorious. In the first game between the two, Thomas often found himself defended by Gary Harris and had one of his poorer shooting nights. Thomas' speed does present a problem as Denver has struggled to keep faster point guards out of the lane this season. Mudiay had an average game for a rookie in the first meeting with the Celtics. Given his size compared to both Thomas and Bradley, Mudiay should look to utilize that advantage both on the offensive and defensive sides.

Key match up deux: Jae Crowder vs Danilo Gallinari

Too many good battles in this game to only highlight one. The small forward duel pits defense versus offense. Crowder is a tough hard nosed defender who has improved his offensive game to become a legitimate two-way player and a valuable piece of the Celtics roster. He'll get Denver's best player in Gallinari who can be a two-way player when he is focused on the defensive end, something that has been lacking this season. Still, Gallo is a handful on offense and has 4" on Crowder which plays nicely into his jump shooting game.

Opening thought: Similarities, similarities

It strikes me how similar of a path these two franchises have chosen. Both teams shed themselves of their star players and have begun rebuilding through compiling assets and young talent via trades and the draft. Both teams elected to hire coaches who were new to the NBA head coaching realm (or in Malone's case, fairly new) and are creating positive cultures through a core of young players. Both franchises are trending upward on their overall outlooks and have compiled a plethora of draft picks to help continue to build their rosters. I look at the Celtics as about a year further along the plan than the Nuggets but both teams execution of the plan is very similar. Given how similar they are, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the season series ends up split so I'll take Denver at home in this one, 106-101.

Bargain buy!!!

If you're looking to go to the Nuggets game today you could head over to and find upper level tickets starting at $78. Or you could watch the game with some of the best fans around, the Denver Sidekicks, by clicking the link below and get upper level seats for $22 a person and get a food and drink voucher. $78 and nothing else or $22 and dinner on the Pepsi Center, the choice is yours.