Photo Credit: Matt Stone (Boston Herald)
The Denver Nuggets are looking to finish their current five game homestand with a record of 4-1, but will have to get past Kyrie Irving and the Celtics in order to do so.
Where: Pepsi Center-Denver, CO
When: 7 p.m. MST
Watch/Listen: NBA TV-Altitude Sports and Entertainment-Altitude Sports Radio AM 950
The Nuggets have a tough task at hand as they’ll start the first game of a back-to-back against the Boston Celtics Monday night at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets will then head to San Antonio to play the Spurs on Tuesday night, two tough games against two of the NBA’s best teams. The Celtics are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 35-15, but are just 1-5 in their last six games. Even though the team is going through a rough stretch, the Celtics still have a solid 17-7 record on the road.
All-star point guard Kyrie Irving is the name the Nuggets will have to slow down if they want any chance at a victory on Monday night. Irving is averaging 24.8 points per game and is shooting almost 50 percent from the field on the season. Irving also shoots over 40 percent from behind the three-point line, while still getting his teammates involved averaging five assists per game. It’s no secret that Irving is one of the best scorers in the NBA and has the ability to make any shot from anywhere on the court. The Nuggets back court, especially Gary Harris, will have to be up to the challenge in order to stop one of the NBA’s most prolific scorers.
The Celtics are a very solid team all-around and have five players, excluding Irving, who average over 10 points per game. Jaylen Brown is second on the team averaging 14.2 points per game and has really grown into a great player in his second season out of the University of California. Brown shoots 46 percent from the field and 37 percent from the three-point line, which gives him the ability to hurt the Nuggets from anywhere on the floor. Al Horford is another guy the Nuggets will have to stop as Horford leads the team in rebounds at 7.9 per game and in assists at 5.2 per game. Horford also has the ability to score as he’s averaging 13.4 points per game, while shooting over 50 percent from the field.
The Nuggets are looking for their fourth straight win after victories over the Trail Blazers, Knicks, and Mavericks. Denver’s record sits at 26-23, which is still good for eighth in the Western Conference. A win on Monday night against the Celtics would not only be big to keep the win streak alive, but because of the teams opponent on Tuesday in the Spurs. The Nuggets have recently struggled in San Antonio, so winning on Monday and splitting the back-to-back could be big towards playoff implications.
Nuggets star center Nikola Jokic will be coming off a game in which he recorded his second triple-double of the season. Jokic’s point per game total is up to 16.1 and he still leads the team in rebounding and assists with 10.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. The Nuggets leading scorer continues to be Gary Harris whose average is up to 17.3, while also shooting an efficient 49 percent from the field. Harris will have his hands full on Monday night trying to stop Irving, while also trying to contribute on the offensive end of the court as well.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for postgame coverage.