The Denver Nuggets are back in action tonight as they host a New Orleans Pelicans team jockeying for playoff position with hopes of not only securing a spot in the postseason, but avoiding the play-in game entirely. New Orleans has been playing pretty solid basketball as of late and the same can be said for Denver as the Nuggets are looking to win their fifth straight game.

Denver is 2-1 against New Orleans so far this season and has won the last two matchups. The Nuggets have seven more games on their schedule — including tonight — and will head to Phoenix tomorrow night to face the Suns on the second night of a back-to-back. Securing a win tonight is important so the Nuggets can basically go into tomorrow night’s game with house money.

In the Nuggets last matchup against New Orleans, Nikola Jokic dropped a 26 point, 18 rebound, and 15 assist triple-double and another performance like that would be huge for his MVP chances. The final MVP straw poll dropped this morning on ESPN, which had Jokic just two points behind Joel Embiid for first place. As the MVP race intensifies with only a few weeks remaining in the NBA season, every game presents a massive opportunity for Jokic to cement himself as league MVP.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (51-24, 32-6 home) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (38-38, 14-25 away)

When: 8:00 p.m. MST

Where: Ball Arena

How to watch/listen: TNT. Show up in Denver. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: The Bird Writes

Expected Starting Lineups:

NOR: PG CJ McCollum, SG Trey Murphy III, SF Herd Jones, SF Brandon Ingram, C Jonas Valanciunas

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

Injuries: Nikola Jokic (calf) QUESTIONABLE, Vlatko Cancar (left ankle sprain) QUESTIONABLE, Peyton Watson (illness) QUESTIONABLE, Collin Gillespie (leg) OUT, Zion Williamson (hamstring) OUT, Jose Alvarado (tibia) OUT