The Denver Nuggets (15-11) are preparing for a matchup with the Boston Celtics (13-13) as two teams that are scrapping in the middle of their respective conferences while they try to keep pace with the teams at the upper echelon of the league. For Denver, they can’t get healthy. They’re about to play tonight’s game while missing three starters along with a backup point guard. For Boston, they’re struggling with consistency coming off of two bad losses last week.

After getting beaten by the Milwaukee Bucks, the Nuggets have ripped off three straight wins, including a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night despite missing multiple rotation players. This is the start of four straight games on the road on the East coast, and the Nuggets could come out of this with a seven-game winning streak before they get back to Denver.

Since beating the LA Clippers on the road on February 5th, they’ve lost four of their last five with their lone win coming against the Toronto Raptors in a game that Semi Ojeleye scored 24 points. They’re coming off two straight losses to the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, and they’re looking to get that turned around before it starts to spiral out of control. 

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (15-11, 7-5 away) vs Boston Celtics (13-13, 6-4 home)

When: 5:00 p.m. MST

Where: TD Garden

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 on Zoom. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Celtics Blog

Expected Starting Lineups:

BOS: PG Kemba Walker, SG Jaylen Brown, SF Jayson Tatum, PF Semi Ojeleye, C Daniel Theis

DEN: PG Monte Morris, PG Jamal Murray, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Zeke Nnaji, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: P.J. Dozier, Gary Harris, Greg Whittington, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford

Three Things to Watch

Defending Jaylen & Jayson

This is going to be a severe issue for the Nuggets unless the bench options are able to take another step on the defensive end. Tatum and Brown are combining to average over 50 points per game, and Denver is heading into this game without their two primary starters at the spots Brown and Tatum will be starting. Wings have been an issue for Denver for the last two years, and that will be the case in this game. 

Jokic is the best player in this game

Duh Gage! We know he’s the best player in the game. Now that we got that out of the way. Everyone knows it, and Jokic needs to show just how much better he is than everyone else. There isn’t a center on the Celtics that can guard Jokic, and he could easily put up 40 points without breaking a sweat. If Jokic is shut down in any way, Denver will be in trouble. 

Who’s going to step up

Jokic is going to bring his best. Who else is going to prove they belong? Michael Porter Jr. struggled against the Lakers, and Jamal Murray has been extremely inconsistent. Who is going to be the guy that steps up alongside Jokic to start off this road trip with a win? If Denver is hoping Jokic is going to just drag them to a win in this matchup, it’s going to be a long night.