The Denver Nuggets are back in action tonight for a matchup against the Dallas Mavericks following a two-game road skid where they lost to the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans. Following a four game winning streak, the Nuggets went on the road and lost both of their games while struggling immensely on the defensive end of the floor. Denver will look to right the ship tonight on a national stage against a Mavericks team they are 1-1 against this season.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (14-9, 6-2 home) vs. Dallas Mavericks (12-11, 2-8 on road)

When: 8:00 PM MST

Where: Ball Arena, Denver, CO

How to watch/listen: TNT, 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Mavs Moneyball

Expected Starting Lineups:

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Bruce Brown, PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokić

DAL: PG Luka Doncic, SG Spencer Dinwiddie, SF Tim Hardaway Jr., PF Dorian Finney-Smith, C Dwight Powell


DEN: Collin Gillespie (leg) OUT, Michael Porter Jr. (left heel strain) OUT, Jeff Green (knee) QUESTIONABLE, Peyton Watson (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right wrist sprain) QUESTIONABLE

DAL: Tyler Dorsey (illness) day-to-day, McKinley Wright IV (illness) day-to-day

What to watch for

The biggest thing I’ll be watching from the Nuggets tonight is whether or not Denver will respond on the defensive end of the floor. Denver hasn’t been great on defense this year, but they have especially struggled in their last few games. After giving up 117 points to Atlanta and 121 to the Pelicans the Nuggets are searching for answers in terms of their defense and no better way to snap out of a slump then having to square off against an MVP candidate in Luka Doncic.

Denver’s defensive rating of 114.4 is good for 26th in the NBA, which is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum to their offense, which is currently fifth best in the NBA. In their two matchups with the Mavericks this season, the Nuggets are 1-1 and their defense is a massive reason why. In the game Denver lost, they gave up 127 points and in the game they won they only allowed 97 points.

When the Nuggets play defense they usually win games, which is something they’ve struggled to do in the last few games. Even going back to the games they won throughout their four game winning streak, the Nuggets allowed at least 109 points in three of those four games as their offense carried them to victory.

Defense is certainly going to be the focal point tonight and if Denver can take care of business on that end of the floor they will have a pretty solid chance of coming out on top.