The Brooklyn Nets (4-6) finally snapped a four-game losing skid with a 98-92 win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. D’Angelo Russell led the way with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Joe Harris added 18 points off the bench. However, the Nets could potentially be short of big men after Rondae Hollis-Jefferson exited the game with a hip injury. They’ve already been missing veteran Trevor Booker for the last few games due to a sore lower back.
The Denver Nuggets (5-5) will finally be back in action following their 127-108 drubbing at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. Things got so out of hand so quickly in that game that no Nuggets starter played more than 20 minutes, or even scored in double digits. That loss snapped their two-game winning streak, which saw them win home games against the Heat and the Raptors.
Three keys to the game
Home-court advantage – The Nuggets’ already formidable home-court advantage could be even more pronounced tonight. Not only will they be fresh after two days off, but they will be up against a shorthanded Nets team playing the second night of a back-to-back.
Nets guards – With Brooklyn potentially missing their top two power forwards, they could be forced to go smaller for the majority of this matchup against the Nuggets. That means the likes of Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Allen Crabbe all need to put together strong performances in order to grab the road win.
Nuggets frontcourt – With the Nets possibly missing a couple of their key big men, the Nuggets need to take advantage of their superior size advantage with Jokic and Millsap. Prior to his poor outing against the Warriors, Jokic had scored at least 18 points in 6 of his last 7 games.
Matchup to watch
D’Angelo Russell vs Jamal Murray – This battle of two of the more promising point guards in the league should be fun. Murray got the better of Russell in their first matchup as he exploded for 26 points. However, Russell has been much better in recent games and could just as easily return the favor tonight.
Nets projected starting lineup
PG – D’Angelo Russell | SG – Caris LeVert | SF – Allen Crabbe | PF – DeMarre Carroll | C – Timofey Mozgov
Nuggets projected starting lineup
PG – Jamal Murray | SG – Gary Harris | SF – Wilson Chandler | PF – Paul Millsap | C – Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic looks primed for a bounce-back night against the Nets. In the seven games before the Warriors game, Jokic had been putting up 20 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Even more good news in Jokic’s favor is that the Nets are coughing up the most fantasy points to opposing centers this season. He knows that fact firsthand as he dropped 21 points and 14 rebounds in just 29 minutes in his first meeting with the Nets.
There are too many things going against Brooklyn’s favor to think they can steal this game on the road. Look for the Nuggets to cover a sizable 11.5-point spread at home.
The Nuggets take care of business by blowing out the Nets, 124-108.
This game will be broacast on Altitude and YES. Tip-off at the Pepsi Center will be at 9:00 pm Eastern.
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