The Nuggets are making their third and final stop on this three-game home trip to see LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after a big win last night in Madison Square Garden over the Knicks.
This is our first meeting of the season against the Cavs on the second night of a back-to-back. Last night, Nikola Jokic recorded a new career high with 40 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. With the Nuggets being down 3 starters, Jokic needs to continue to lead the team in an upwards direction, especially with All-Star Break being right around the corner.
“I don’t think he is a star in the making. He is a star,” Mike Malone on Jokic
The Cavaliers continue to be led by LeBron James, who, in February alone, is averaging 26.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 11 assists. In February, Jokic is averaging 20.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Nuggets continue to be without Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried, and Danilo Gallinari and it is possible that Gallo and The Manimal could be out until after the All-Star break. Faried continues to work with a sprained ankle and Gallinari is missing his sixth consecutive game tonight with a groin injury. Mudiay continues to have trouble with his back.
“We have four more games prior to the break. If we have to use that entire time to get Gallo back for after the break to make a push, then we’ll do that. Whatever is in the best interest of the players.” -Coach Malone on Gallinari’s injuries (C/O The Denver Post)
Facing the Cavs tonight will be no easy task, but the Nuggets, who are 24-29 (10-17 on the road) will hopefully be ready to go home with two wins from this road trip. The Cavs are 36-16 on the season and 22-5 on their home court.
Nuggets Stats: Cavaliers Stats:
FG%: 46.2 FG%: 46.3
RPG: 46.6 RPG: 44.1
Last 10: 6-4 Last 10: 6-4
Keys to the game, courtesy of Sean English:
- Cleveland is second in the NBA, averaging 39 points per game from downtown and 29th in the league in points in the paint per game. Limit chances from the three point line.
- The Cavs average 111 points per game, ranking 3rd in the NBA. The Nuggets are 28th in the league, giving up 111.6 points per game. This one’s obvious, but the Nuggets must play something resembling NBA defense.
- Last night, Nikola Jokic set a career high as he scored 40 points against the Knicks. On the second night of a back to back, Jokic must lead the troops agin. This team goes as Nikola Jokic goes.
Wilson Chandler (illness) probable
Emmanuel Mudiay (back) out
Kenneth Faried (personal) out
Danilo Gallinari (groin) out
Iman Shumpert (ankle) probable
DeAndre Liggins (tooth) probable
**TIPOFF IS AT 5:30 PM MST**