I know it feels like deja vu, but the Denver Nuggets are once again facing the Sacramento Kings with one of the teams on a back-to-back. This time it’s the Kings who have to do the travel from Phoenix on Tuesday to Denver on Wednesday for the final game before the All-Star Break. Both teams will be tired, and Denver may or may not be down two starters, but the show must go on and after getting blown out in its last two games – one of them by these same Kings – the Nuggets have both pride and revenge on their minds. I expect to see a much more motivated Nuggets squad tonight.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (36-18) at Sacramento Kings (30-22)

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. Altitude TV where available (Altitude is available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream & Fubo TV). NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5. Show up with a cooler and say you’re bringing ice for Jamal’s shins.

Rival Blog: Kings Herald

Injury Report*: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – questionable (hamstring), Jamal Murray – questionable (shins), Hunter Tyson – out (finger), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee); Sasha Vezenkov – out (ankle), Trey Lyles – questionable (illness), Jordan Ford – questionable (neck).

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: The right attitude

Denver may be missing Jamal Murray, whose shins are acting up, as well as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who re-tweaked a previously-tweaked hamstring against the Bucks and only played 9 minutes. If they do play, they will likely be limited and if they don’t then the backups need to step up. But regardless, Denver has to have a competitive mindset in this game. Against the Kings, Denver was set up for a schedule loss after the Kobe Statue Night victory against the Los Angeles Lakers the night before. The emotions were not as high against the Kings (except for Malone’s because he ALWAYS takes a game against his former team seriously) while the Kings had just suffered a bad loss to the lowly Detroit Pistons and wanted to get rid of that taste.

This time it’s Denver with the bad vibes they need to shake and a tired Kings team trying to come into Denver the night after playing the Suns with the right amount of intensity. Whichever team has the right mindset and can give effort on every play, offensive and defensive, should walk away the victor while the other slumps into the break on a loss. I expect Denver to be ready to treat this game as seriously as they should no matter who suits up for them.

The thing to remember: Win or lose, this break is coming at a perfect time

Don’t judge this team on a victory tonight. Considering how beat up Jamal has been in the first “half” of the season Denver is in great position to lock up home court for at least the first round once play resumes after the All-Star Game. The Nuggets proved last season that they can win on the road in the playoffs, so the first goal for the team should be health, not the #1 seed. This Kings game is not a time for Denver to prove its playoff rotation is a good one – we know that it is, and just saw it against the Lakers last week. Denver needs to have everyone on the court with the right mindset no matter who is playing, and to take this break to recharge the batteries and heal up from a rough first half and a short offseason. Getting healthy and re-energized is key to surviving the next couple months and handling business in the postseason, and that’s more about performance expectations than wins and losses.

The thing to bet: Jokic over 1.5 threes (+180)

The Nuggets are 6 point favorites, so that’s not a great bet. Both teams are beat up and tired so reaching for an over probably also isn’t great since either team could pack it in a game early for this break. So I say bet the Jokic over 1.5 threes again. That was our last pick against the Kings and Jokic did it in both games sandwiching the Kings game, he just only took one three against Sacramento. I expect him to fire away in this game, especially if Murray isn’t available or is limited, so take the bet in the rematch and hope for an increase in deep ball tendencies that matches the Lakers and Bucks games.