The Denver Nuggets are working their way up the east coast and tonight they find themselves in Boston for a matchup against the Celtics. Boston comes in as the team with the best record in the NBA and a clear championship contender. Led by stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the team has been bolstered by marquee offseason additions Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. Both teams are well rested for what very well could be an NBA Finals preview. If Denver wants to win tonight it will take a complete game against one of the very best teams in the association.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (28-14) vs Boston Celtics (32-9)

When: 5:30 PM MST

Where: Parquet Palace. Boston, MA.

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. ESPN. Altitude TV where available (Altitude TV is available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and Fubo TV). NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5 FM. Grab a dozen Dunkin Donuts and tell security you’re Ben Affleck’s personal assistant.

Rival blog: Celtics Blog

The Matchup

Position Nuggets Celtics Advantage
PG Jamal Murray Jrue Holiday Even
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Jaylen Brown Celtics
SF Michael Porter Jr. Jayson Tatum Celtics
PF Aaron Gordon Kristaps Porzingis Even
C Nikola Jokic Al Horford Nuggets
Bench Reggie Jackson, Justin Holiday, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, DeAndre Jordan Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, Luke Kornet, Oshae Brissett Even


Injury report: Aaron Gordon – probable (shoulder), Julian Strawther – out (knee), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee); JD Davidson – out (G-League), Drew Peterson – out (G-League), Jordan Walsh – out (G-League)

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: Jokic vs Boston’s Bigs

Nov 11, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) drives to the basket between Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) and forward Grant Williams (12) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic hasn’t really struggled to put up numbers against either Porzingis or Al Horford in his career but we will get our first look at him facing the combination. Both Horford and the Zinger have some defensive chops and their combination may just be the way to attack Jokic. Horford in all likelihood has the task of bodying up Joker which will leave Porzingis, a long athletic shot blocker, free to roam. It’s the classic two big strategy that teams have employed ever since the bubble. Generally speaking if you pull your best defender off Jokic to let him roam and put a less capable defender on Joker then that guy just gets eaten alive but Horford does make it a bit more challenging. If Boston’s bigs can’t be successful in keeping Jokic off the scoreboard then that’s good new for Denver.

The thing to remember: Jamal Murray may finally have figured out Jrue Holiday

Generally speaking, Jrue has got the better of Jamal throughout their careers, save for some games very early on in Jamal’s tenure. However, after not seeing each other for two years, last season Jamal put up one of his best performances against the top tier defensive guard when he went 5/10 from three, scored twenty-six points and dished out nine assists. The Nuggets will need Jamal to be able to win this one on one matchup tonight as Boston has defenders littered across the court and no one is really going to be getting easy baskets.

The thing to bet: Michael Porter Jr over 15.5 points (-120)

MPJ might end up being the guy with the best chance at a big night scoring tonight. As I said, I’m guessing the Celtics want to let Porzingis roam to provide defensive help which means they likely assign him to Aaron Gordon who is not a major three point threat and won’t consistently draw Kristaps out of the paint. That means either Tatum or Brown has the task of covering Mike and while they are both solid defenders, they are not 6’10”. If I’m coach Malone I’m looking to exploit the height disadvantage until it forces Boston to switch Kristaps on to MPJ.