Photo: KEVIN JAIRAJ-USA TODAY SPORTS
The Denver Nuggets are gunning for their third straight win as they take on a pesky Dallas Mavericks squad at the Pepsi Center.
Where: Pepsi Center-Denver, CO
When: 7 p.m. MST
Watch/Listen: Altitude Sports and Entertainment-Altitude Sports Radio 950 AM
The Nuggets took care of the Mavericks a couple weeks ago in a 105-102 victory at the Pepsi Center. Nikola Jokic scored 29 points as the Nuggets held off a late fourth quarter rally that was led by Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavericks come to town with a record of 16-32 and have lost four of their last five games. Smith Jr. is currently averaging 14.7 points per game and is an explosive player whose reportedly accepted an invitation to compete in the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend. The last time these two played Smith Jr. showcased his incredible dunking ability.
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2018
Harrison Barnes leads the Mavs in scoring at 18.3 points per game and is shooting over 45 percent from he field. Barnes will be a tough matchup if the Nuggets role out their new starting line-up that uses Will Barton at the small forward position. Coach Michael Malone may decide to still use defensive specialist Gary Harris on Barnes even with a potential size disadvantage. Harris has been incredible defensively all season and is currently in the top 10 in the NBA averaging 1.9 steals per game. Harris also leads the team in points per game at 17.2 and is averaging 23 points per game against the Mavericks this season.
Nikola Jokic is averaging a strong 16.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game so far this season. Jokic didn’t play in the two teams first matchup this season, but did play in the teams last game scoring 29 points and collected a season high 18 rebounds. With the underside frontcourt of the Mavericks, look for Jokic and Mason Plumlee to dominate in the post all night long.
Nuggets second year point guard Jamal Murray is on a role as of late and is second on the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game. Murray’s three-point percentage has skyrocketed since the beginning of the season and it’s up 37 percent. Murray’s matchup with Dennis Smith Jr. will be a fun one to watch all night, and it’ll be a preview of the Rising Stars Challenge in a couple of weeks. Murray will compete for the World train he challenge and is the raining MVP, while Smith Jr. is an up and coming star who will compete on the USA team.
Flashback to last year's Rising Stars game where Jamal went off for 36 points and 11 assists! pic.twitter.com/l5B3upM9tw
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 24, 2018
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for postgame coverage.