The Denver Nuggets (29-24) were on their longest winning streak a week ago, and they followed that up by losing three of their last four games. Now, they have a home matchup with the New York Knicks (24-30) tonight as they look to keep pace with the teams ahead of them in the standings and to string together some wins heading into the All-Star Break. 

The Nuggets have five games remaining before the All-Star Break with three of those five being on the road. They stomped the Knicks 113-99 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would have indicated back in early December, and they’ve eight straight games in the head-to-head series. If they win tonight, it would be their fourth straight season sweep. 

For the Knicks, they’ve followed up a surprising season a year ago with a struggling performance. They find themselves 12th in the Eastern Conference, and they’re just 2-8 over their last 10 games, including losing six of their last seven games. They’re in the midst of a five-game road trip, and they’ll be looking to snag a win or two before they head back home ahead of the All-Star Break. 

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (29-24, 14-10 home) vs New York Knicks (24-30, 11-15 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

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Expected Starting Lineups:

NYK: PG Kemba Walker, SG Evan Fournier, SF RJ Barrett, PF Julius Randle, C Mitchell Robinson

DEN: PG Monte Morris, SG Will Barton, SF Aaron Gordon, PF Jeff Green, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Quentin Grimes (knee), Austin Rivers (hip)

Three Things to Watch

Bench Minutes

Denver has spent the last month or so really trying to retool and adjust their bench. It’s had mostly mixed results with occasional moments of flash from each guy, but it’s hardly been consistent on a night-to-night basis. The Knicks’ bench hasn’t been much better with Derrick Rose on the shelf. Denver’s bench was great in the previous meeting, and the winner of those backup minutes would go a long way towards winning this one. 

Evan Fournier

Slowing down Julius Randle is important, but Evan Fournier is a player that flies under the radar in terms of how his scoring impacts his team’s outcome. Fournier’s ability to get hot from outside and knock down 3-point shots spaces the floor for everyone around him, and it can also help to keep his team in the game when the rest of the team goes cold. Keeping him in check will be something to keep an eye on. 

The Performance of Jokic

Nikola Jokic remains one of the most unstoppable players in the NBA. His passing makes him impossible to double-team because it results in an open shooter, and no one can guard him 1-on-1 in the post all game long. In the previous meeting, Jokic was 14-of-19 from the floor, with four of those five misses coming from 3-point range. If Jokic has another great night, the Knicks likely won’t have an answer to that punch.