After not playing a back-to-back in a month, the Denver Nuggets (24-12) are playing their second in less than a week with the Minnesota Timberwolves (16-21) on the docket. The Nuggets have won eight of their last 10 and are riding a two-game winning streak. If it weren’t for a blown lead on the second night of a back-to-back last week, they would be riding an eight-game winning streak.

The Nuggets are riding high after a strong victory over the Boston Celtics at home last night. This team has been putting up strong offensive showings night after night, and they’ve shown some flashes of defensive improvement over this recent strong stretch of play. 

The Timberwolves have struggled to start the season. They’ve had missed games from just about every one of their core players. Of their 37 games, star big man Karl Anthony-Towns has played just 21. They’re 6-10 in their last 16 games without him, and they’re riding a six-game losing streak heading into tonight. 

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (24-12, 10-9 away) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (16-21, 9-9 home)

When: 6:00 p.m. MST

Where: Target Center

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 Minnesota. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Canis Hoopus

Expected Starting Lineups:

MIN: PG D’Angelo Russell, SG Anthony Edwards, SF Jaden McDaniels, PF Kyle Anderson, C Rudy Gobert

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

Injuries: Collin Gillespie (leg), Jeff Green (hand/finger), Jordan McLaughlin (calf), Karl Anthony-Towns (calf), Taurean Prince (shoulder)

Three Things to Watch

Late-Game Legs

In last week’s loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Nuggets ran out of gas down the stretch as they were outscored by 12 in the final quarter after leading by as many as 19 earlier in the game. However, they were without four separate rotation players including two different starters. Tonight, the only rotation player they are without is Jeff Green, so they should have a little more energy late in this one.

Guarding Their Guards

When Denver gets beat, they allow opposing guards to get penetration and put up a good amount of points. The main threats the Timberwolves have to offer on offense are D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards with just about no one else of note on a consistent night-to-night basis. If they can keep those two in check, it will go a long way towards securing a victory. 

Get the Bench Some Reps

Last night, the Nuggets were able to get a strong amount of production out of their starters despite only needing more than 33 minutes out of Aaron Gordon. Building out their bench will go a long way towards continuing a strong season. However, they’ve been up and down all year long. Getting a lead that the second unit can play with to try and improve would be a good move tonight.