Nuggets can pick up big Western Conference victory with potential late-season seeding implications
The Denver Nuggets return home to the Pepsi Center after suffering their first loss of the season in Los Angeles. Tonight the Nuggets will take on the New Orleans Pelicans who come in tied with the Nuggets for second in the West with a record of 4-1.
The Pelicans and Nuggets were two of the last remaining undefeated teams in the Western Conference and are both coming off their first losses of the season. Fortunately for the Nuggets part of the reason the Pelicans have taken a step back is because of the absence of Anthony Davis due to injury. Davis will sit out again tonight along with fellow starter Elfrid Payton, giving the Nuggets yet another chance to take advantage against a team who is down a couple starters.
— Brandon Ewing (@B_Skip17) October 29, 2018
Unfortunately, the Nuggets have a history of let downs at home when playing against teams down a star. Last December the Nuggets took on the 76ers with Joel Embiid out with an injury and ended up losing the game in the midst of a poor shooting night with a lack of effort. Malone hopes his team can avoid that letdown tonight. If they do it will be another look at the step forward that the Nuggets have taken from last season to this season.
Part of the reason that the injured Pelicans are still no joke is because of players like Jrue Holiday, Nikola Mirotic, and Julius Randle still headlining the starting lineup. Mirotic specifically has averaged 23.8 points per game this season on nearly 46 percent shooting from the 3-point line. The Pelicans roster is also set up for them to play small with a lot of guard depth, even with Payton out. This will give Malone an opportunity to play the Morris-Murray lineups that were getting a lot of talk over the weekend after the success those lineups saw in Los Angeles last week.
Tonight’s game tips off at 7:00 p.m. (MST) at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The game will air on Altitude TV and NBA League Pass.
New Orleans Pelicans Projected Starters
PG – Jrue Holiday
SG – E’Twaun Moore
SF – Solomon Hill
PF – Nikola Mirotic
C – Julius Randle
Denver Nuggets Projected Starters
PG – Jamal Murray
SG – Gary Harris
SF – Torrey Craig
PF – Paul Millsap
C – Nikola Jokic
This one should, hopefully, be an easy one for a relatively healthy Nuggets team. A major reason why the Lakers game didn’t go the Nuggets way was, for one, that it was on the road, and secondly because they were going up against LeBron James and his cast. Randle will try to test Jokic, Millsap, and Plumlee down low all night, but the Nuggets should have plenty of looks to throw at him and the Pelicans remaining offense to slow them down. If the Nuggets keep turnovers down this could be a game where they get back on track by allowing less than 100 points and picking up a win.