The Denver Nuggets have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season. Denver is currently tied with the Houston Rockets as the second-best team in the Western Conference, and the Nuggets have a one game lead on the Utah Jazz for the top spot in the Northwest Division. The Nuggets have stumbled in the middle of their five-game road trip though, losing by double digits to Houston and Washington. Denver must travel to face the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night too before finishing up with a nationally televised road game against the Dallas Mavericks.
This game will take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on January 8, 2020, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
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Head-To-Head Results to Date
This will be the second meeting between these two teams this season. Dallas was responsible for one of Denver’s four losses in the Mile High City back in late October, as Maxi Kleber turned it on late to help lead the Mavericks escape with a 109-106 victory over the Nuggets. Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic had dreadful shooting nights, combining to go 7-26 from the floor and 1-14 from three-point range, but the bench showed up in a big way with all five bench players scoring in the double digits.
Point guard P.J. Dozier is expected to recover from illness in time to take the court for the Nuggets but point guard Jamal Murray and power forward Paul Millsap are both probable to play. Millsap is dealing with a left knee contusion, while Murray has a sprained right finger.
Dallas won’t have shooting guard Ryan Broekhoff back from a lower leg injury until February 1 and shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is questionable with a hamstring issue. Small forward Isaiah Roby is questionable with a foot injury, but the big concern is the status of Porzingis. The versatile big man hasn’t played in over a week, and he is hoping to make his return to the lineup against Denver.
Player to Watch
Luka Doncic is having a sensational sophomore season. No one thought that the young Slovenian would emerge as one of the best players in the NBA this soon, but he is an MVP candidate more than a third of the way through the year.
Doncic won 98 of 100 first-place votes for Rookie of the Year last season, and he could end his second season averaging a triple double. He has willed Dallas into becoming a playoff contender with his play, averaging 29.4 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 8.9 APG to lead the team in all three categories. His PER is the third highest in the league too, and Dallas doesn’t have another player ranked in the top 50 in that category.
These teams are diametrically opposed in their philosophies. Dallas wants to run and score, and they are third in the league in scoring, averaging 116.6 PPG. Denver is defined by its defense, allowing 104.9 PPG, and the Nuggets are ranked third in the league in that category.
Nikola Jokic is the key for the Nuggets on both ends of the court. He is the best rebounder on the team by a significant margin, and he has unbelievable vision and scoring instincts for a 7’0 center. Dallas allowed him to notch a triple double the last time these teams met, and Denver’s starting lineup ran roughshod over the Mavericks’ starters.
The emergence of Michael Porter Jr. might lead to Denver eventually overtaking the Lakers as the best team in the Western Conference. Porter was supposed to be on a minutes count after being injured the last two years, but he is showing why he was the No. 1 recruit in high school. He has been lights out recently in wins against Sacramento and Indiana, and he will lead Denver past Dallas.
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