The Denver Nuggets (32-13) are back in action tonight with the Indiana Pacers (23-23) coming to town to try and snap Denver’s 15-game home winning streak that started for the Nuggets back on December 10th. Denver stands atop the Western Conference, while the Pacers have stumbled after a strong start to the season. The Nuggets are looking for their third straight sweep in this season series while continuing to build their lead in the all-time head-to-head matchup.

The Nuggets are 9-1 in their last 10 games following Wednesday night’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves (23-24) with that lone loss being the second night of a back-to-back on the road after an extended game against the Boston Celtics (34-12) the night before. Denver has been firing on all cylinders the last month and a half, and they’re looking to keep that rolling.

For the Pacers, since starting the season 10-6, they’re 13-17 over their last 30 games, and they’ve been dealing with a pretty annoying injury bug with star point guard Tyrese Haliburton (knee) on the shelf along with other bumps and bruises along the way. Tonight is the third of four games on the road for the Pacers that are 4-6 in their last 10 games and currently riding a five-game losing streak. The Pacers are looking for revenge tonight after the Nuggets knocked them off back in November by three.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (32-13, 21-3 home) vs Indiana Pacers (23-23, 8-14 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: Indy Cornrows

Expected Starting Lineups:

IND: PG Andrew Nembhard, SG Buddy Hield, SF Bennedict Mathurin, PF Aaron Nesmith, C Myles Turner

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Collin Gillespie (leg) OUT, Kendall Brown (leg) OUT, Tyrese Haliburton (knee) OUT, Daniel Theis (knee) OUT, Jeff Green (finger/hand) QUESTIONABLE, Peyton Watson (groin) QUESTIONABLE, Jamal Murray (foot/ankle) PROBABLE 

Three Things to Watch

Guard the Arc

The Pacers are not one of the league’s bigger teams. In their current starting lineup, other than Myles Turner, their tallest player is small forward Bennedict Mathurin at 6’6.” As expected, they’re sixth in 3-point attempts and fifth in 3-pointers made per game compared to 23rd in 2-point attempts. The Nuggets have to keep this team off of the arc because guys like Buddy Hield can get hot in a hurry to keep their team in a game.

Attack the Basket

The Nuggets aren’t great at drawing foul calls, as evidenced by their ranking in the bottom 10 in free throws and free throw attempts per game. However, the Pacers are 25th in fouls per game and 24th in free throw attempts allowed per game. The Nuggets can get to the line in this one, and, against a team that is on the smaller side, the Nuggets’ size and athleticism can thrive.

Ball Security

As a Rick Carlisle-coached team, the Pacers being great at ball movement and racking up steals and blocks on defense is unsurprising. They’re seventh in assists, eighth in steals and third in blocks. They’re also fifth in turnovers forced per game. In the games when the Nuggets are struggling, they’re turning the ball over and playing sloppy. This is a team you can’t do that against, because, with the sixth-fastest pace of play, they will make you pay.