A day after one of the greatest comebacks and most superlative finishes in Denver Nuggets history, downing the Golden State Warriors in their home arena on a 40-foot buzzer-beater by Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets now have to turn around and play the Orlando Magic in Denver. It’s what coach Michael Malone calls the toughest back-to-back in basketball, traveling from a late-night Pacific Time Zone game back to Denver for an earlier tipoff. Denver might not be rested, but hopefully the euphoria from last game can carry over to tonight against a very capable and motivated Orlando squad looking to dethrone the champs.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (25-11) vs Orlando Magic (19-15)

When: 7:00PM MST

Where: Ball Arena, Denver CO

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. TNT. NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 950AM. Pretend to be a lawyer retained by Steve Kerr to deliver a cease-and-desist order against Nikola Jokic to stop embarrassing the Golden State coach.

Rival Blog: True Blue Nation

Injury report: Reggie Jackson – probable (calf), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee); Wendell Carter Jr – questionable (knee tendinities), Franz Wagner – out (ankle) , Jonathan Isaac – out (hamstring), Gary Harris – out (calf), Joe Ingles – out (ankle), Markelle Fultz – out (knee)

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: Energy

Denver will have the adrenaline crash after a tremendous victory. They have late night travel, 4 AM bedtime, 7 PM tip-off, and an angry team that lost in double overtime to the Sacramento Kings two days ago and is winless on their West Coast road trip so far. The Magic are beat up, but their losses have been by 5, 6 and 3 points in their last three games – they haven’t been able to close but they’re right there at the finish line. One team is short-handed and on the road, one is tired and due for a let-down, so the team that can find the energy to compete down the stretch will likely walk out the victor.

The thing to remember: Denver has been great on back-to-backs, but they haven’t had one like this.

Denver is 6-2 on back-to-backs this year, but look… I just want to savor last night for a second. Orlando will be a fun game if likely a sloppy one. MPJ is due for a good outing after a quiet performance against Golden State last night. Aaron Gordon was dynamic in the fourth quarter and may not have the legs for that kind of thing tonight. Can Jokic keep making shots like this and Murray keep orchestrating the offense as well as he has been if the gas tank is a little low?

I don’t know, but nothing can take away the joy from last night. I want Denver to win, otherwise going 1-1 takes some of the helium out of last night’s ridiculous closing antics, but also: the Nuggets will have to find a way to put that one to bed and take care of business tonight without me needing it. Last night brought enough joy for the week for me. So I’ll need them to be greedy for me when it comes to defending home court and building on a great win by stacking another right next to it.

The thing to bet: Orlando Magic +9.5 (-115)

The spread is ridiculous. Orlando doesn’t get blown out, and Denver is highly unlikely to have the gas tank to run the Magic into the ground in such a way that they can walk out with a double-digit win. This game will likely come down to a couple of buckets. Now luckily for Denver, Orlando has been coming up a couple shots short while Denver has shown the magic touch (so to speak), but regardless Denver will need to fight for this victory. Also shoutout to Plea who has been gnashing his teeth all morning for me to post this:

Have fun in the comments. The greatest basketball player alive plays in Denver.