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Nuggets at Wolves: Slowing a Juggernaut

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The Nuggets are tied atop the West, the Wolves desperately need a win to stay in the picture.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Nuggets at Wolves
8:00 pm CST
FS North

The Wolves will have to hope the Nuggets left most of their made shots back in Denver after last night’s 136-122 shellacking of the Rockets. The Nuggets, who were without their starting back court of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris (both day-to-day but announced out for tonight’s game) merely shot 62 percent from the field, made 14 threes and only turned the ball over eight times. Yikes.

Of course they won’t shoot like that again tonight (fingers crossed) and the the Wolves have a rest advantage having had two days off while the Nuggets are on the back end of a back to back, but it’s still a tough match up. The Nuggets, behind Nikola Jokic, have taken a real step forward this season after just missing out on the playoffs last year. They currently have the second rated offense in the league, which is driven by terrific offensive rebounding and limited turnovers. They generate extra possessions for themselves better than any team in the league, and of course Jokic is the fulcrum of their offense, leading in both scoring and assists.

The Nuggets escaped Minneapolis with a two point win in their first match up of the year in November, about a week after the Jimmy Butler trade. A furious fourth quarter comeback could not overcome a disastrous third quarter for the Wolves in that one, and they fell 103-101. That moved the Nuggets to 11-7 on the season, and they have gone 25-8 since then to establish themselves at the top of the conference.

Meanwhile, the Wolves are limping (literally) along a game under .500. They can’t afford to lose too many more if the playoffs is the goal, and tonight is an opportunity. They need to work on the defensive glass and push the pace against a Nuggets team that should have tired legs. It’s always fun to see Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns go up against one another—a match up of two of the premier young bigs in the NBA.

This should be a fun one.

Expected Lineups

Nuggets

Monte Morris
Malik Beasley
Will Barton
Paul Millsap
Nikola Jokic

Wolves

Jerryd Bayless
Josh Okogie
Andrew Wiggins
Taj Gibson
Karl-Anthony Towns

Of the injured, Derrick Rose might be available tonight, he’ll be a game time decision.

Check out our friends over at Denver Stiffs for more on the Nuggets.