The Denver Nuggets (22-12) take on the visiting Miami Heat (18-17) in Denver tonight. The Heat have struggled to open this years season after making the previous Eastern Conference Finals and were one shot away from the Finals. While the core of their lineup should be intact tonight, the Heat were hit really hard by the injury bug. The average Heat player has missed more than 10 games this season and no player has played in every one of Miamis’ games.

The Nuggets are fresh off of an extremely disappointing loss, let’s hope Denver left that game in the past and can come out and dominate the Heat. The Nuggets are currently tied for the 1 seed in the west with the New Orleans Pelicans, a win tonight would propel Denver past the Pelicans for sole ownership of the 1 seed if the Pelicans also lose to the 76ers. The last meetings between the Nuggets and Heat were exciting ones, but there is no Markieff Morris on the other team this time around so the odds of retaliation are low.

The Essentials:

Who: Miami Heat (18-17, 7-9 away) @ Denver Nuggets (22-12, 12-3 home)

When: 7:00 p.m. MST

Where: Ball Arena

How to watch/listen: NBATV and AltitudeTV in non-Denver markets, 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Hot Hot Hoops

Expected Starting Lineups:

MIA: PG Kyle Lowry, SG Tyler Herro, SF Caleb Martin, PF Jimmy Butler, C Bam Adebayo

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


DEN: Collin Gillespie (Leg) Out, Bruce Brown (Ankle) Questionable, Aaron Gordon (Shoulder) Questionable, Jeff Green (Hand) Out, and Jamal Murray (Knee Management) Questionable

MIA: Udonis Haslem (Achilles) Day-to-Day, Caleb Martin (Ankle) Questionable, Gabe Vincent (Knee) Probable, Nikola Jovic (Back) Probable, and Jimmy Butler (Ankle) Probable

Three Things to Watch for:

The Heat Defense

Miami comes into tonight’s matchup as the team with the 7th-best DRTG in the NBA, while Denver enters as the team with the 3rd-best ORTG. Tonight is gonna be a classic defense vs offense night. Bam Adebayo was a common pick for DPOY before this season, if he really is the DPOY he’s gonna have to hold Jokić to a bad game. My best bet is that Jokić looks to pass more tonight as the Heat will likely try to trap Jokić with a second defender and Bam.

Is Sacramento in the past?

The Nuggets just need to forget about how the game versus the Kings ended. Denver just needs to come out and play the basketball they have the whole season. No need for them to be frantic and chucking shots in the first quarter. Having Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon should help the clutch-time offense, but the Nuggets just need to forget about that last game.


Since coming back from a heel injury, MPJ has looked both good and bad. He has had a game with 30 points and one with 7 points, he’s also had a game with 13 points in the first quarter and then only scored 6 more the rest of the game. Denver seems to be unbeatable when Porter Jr. is on his A game, if he’s not then Denver is more than beatable.