The Denver Nuggets (3-0) will face off against the Toronto Raptors (0-3) Wednesday night at 10 p.m. EDT (8 p.m. MDT) on ESPN 2.
Tournament time! pic.twitter.com/aWLX8er4z0
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 11, 2018
By finishing as one of the five undefeated teams through the preliminary stage of the Las Vegas Summer League the Nuggets secured themselves the fourth overall seed in the tournament and a date with the 29th seeded Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors are coming off three losses to the New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Oklahoma City Thunder where they allowed greater than 90 points each game. That includes 103 points allowed to the Timberwolves who the Nuggets held to just 69.
It’s uncertain at this point whether Malik Beasley or Thomas Welsh will return for tonight’s game or the tournament after resting minor injuries, but given this team’s energy and desire to win I would be somewhat surprised to see anyone shut down long-term.
Just take Monte Morris’ post game interview as proof for the drive this team has.
“At the end of the day we can win one game. We can’t get complacent with success,” said Morris. “We’ve got to keep getting better and watching film, and we’re trying to make a big push. You know we’re 3-0, but the big time tournament is coming up soon. We just gotta be ready.”
Monte through three games:
– Averaging 16.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per-game.
– Shooting 47.8% from the field.
– 6-to-1 assist to turnover ratio.https://t.co/5XeDHDUP74
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 10, 2018
Malachi Richardson leads the way in the scoring department for the Raptors with 13.7 PPG. Scoring hasn’t necessarily been the problem for the Raptors, however, with seven different players having scored in double-digits through three games. The problem, as previously laid out, is on the defensive end. Despite having a solid second year defender in OG Anunoby leading the charge the Raptors have allowed 14 players to score in double figures against them including Keita Bates-Diop and Trevon Bluiett who scored 24 points each. For comparison, Bates-Diop was held to nine points on 3/11 shooting versus Denver.
For the Nuggets to take this game tonight they’ll need to score the ball effectively. If fully healthy that shouldn’t be a problem. Morris, Beasley, Lydon, Cancar, and Akoon-Purcell have all proven to be capable scorers. Especially after unlocking their three point shooting against Milwaukee (11/22 from three) Denver’s offense appears to be in good shape.
All in all, this game kicks off a potential five-round tournament for the Nuggets if they are able to keep the win streak alive all the way to the championship.