Brooklyn at Denver
Time: Thursday, 9:30 PM CST, TNT
Spread: DEN -6
Odds c/o Bet Online
The Denver Nuggets is 7-3 and in second place in the Northwest Division, trailing the Utah Jazz by just 1/2 a game for the division lead. The Nuggets saw a four-game win streak come to its end the last outing as it fell 121-125 to the Atlanta Hawks. Denver remains at home in this homestead, hosting the Brooklyn Nets on TNT at 9:30 PM CST. The Nuggets is 6-point favorites in the game and the betting total is set at 225 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Denver is beginning to hit stride, despite suffering a loss in its last outing.
With the decline of the Golden State Warriors, many chose the Nuggets as the de facto heirs to the throne. Two straight losses after its 3-0 start led to some doubts in that regard, and Nikola Jokic has started both slow and out of shape, though his production overall is still rather good.
Jokic is averaging 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists per game, the latter two of which lead the team. Jamal Murray is the top scorer at 18.7 points per game, and he ranks No. 2 in assists at 4.6 per.
Jokic is the only Nugget with a PER above 20. Michael Porter Jr. is being eased into NBA action, having appeared in just six games thus far for a total of under 60 minutes of action… Porter battled a variety of injuries his first pro season, but he looked good in his NBA debut, scoring 15 points and grabbing four boards in 21 minutes.
If healthy, Porter could replace Paul Millsap at the 4-spot sooner than later. Millsap is rapidly declining, though he does “still have his nights.” The veteran is averaging just 25 minutes a game while tallying 12 points and four boards per contest. Once a dynamic two-way talent, Millsap’s declination has been somewhat accelerated by his lack of size for his position.
Shooting guard Gary Harris has been a gem defensively for the Nuggets but his offense has trailed behind, averaging just 11 points per game despite playing the second-most minutes per game on the team (32.2). The Nuggets will likely seek to accelerate the pace of this game to push Orlando into an uncomfortable situation given its lack of scoring power.
Though Denver ranks No. 27 on the season in scoring, it is, of course, a far more potent team than that and it will show with greater sample size. The Nuggets are also No. 27 in scoring defense, allowing 102.8 per game. While that likely will not improve drastically, the team should score more to build a positive win differential over the course of the 2019-20 season. Even right now, the Nuggets are still +2.3 on point differential, and the team is still not really living up to its potential despite a .700 win percentage. This is the team that, on paper at least, should emerge from the Western Conference in June.
The Brooklyn Nets is 4-6 and it has lost its last two games, falling to the much-improved Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz. It ended that three-game road trip with a 1-2 mark since it did manage to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers in the trip’s first game.
The Nets found out the unfortunate news that it will be without No. 3 scorer Caris LeVert for at least a month. He was averaging 16.8 points and five rebounds per game while playing 31.6 minutes a game. In his stead, the Nets will likely turn to Spencer Dinwiddie for still-more production. Dinwiddie has quietly put together two great seasons now, and he is tallying 17.1 points and 4.7 assists per game, seeing plenty of time and shots despite the addition of Kyrie Irving to the Nets’ backcourt.
Irving has been sensational, averaging just under 30 points per game while dropping seven dimes a night, as well. The Nets will have to find a way to get more offense out of both Joe Harris and Taurean Prince until LeVert returns. It does not have to be a major blow if everyone steps up to replace the scoring void LeVert leaves, but it is definitely a setback considering that Brooklyn is already sub .500 and now without one of its primary offensive weapons.