Denver Nuggets vs. Dallas Mavericks 12/18/18: Starting Lineups, Matchup Breakdown, Odds, Daily Fantasy, Betting
Denver Nuggets vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview
The Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets (20-9) will put their top position on the line tonight as they welcome the Dallas Mavericks (15-13) into town. This will be the first meeting of the season series after they split the series 2-2 last season.
The Mavericks seemed to be making a push, but they have dropped two straight to the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings, but still retain a slight lead in the Southwest Division.
The Nuggets, meanwhile, have been tested against the best teams from both conferences and have done well. They have won their last three games and eight of their last 10 behind Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
The Jokic vs. DeAndre Jordan should be a fun one to watch, but Luka Doncic, as he has done several times this season, may end up being the one that steals the show.
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Arena: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
If there is one team that could’ve folded and made excuses due to injuries, the Nuggets would certainly have been a candidate. Their injured list reports this season have required more ink than most, if not all, other teams. They are still without their first round draft selection Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris and Will Barton remain out, Paul Milsap is still out with a right big toe fracture and one of their free agency acquisitions, Isaiah Thomas has yet to play. Add to that Juan Hernangomez being banged up, and that’s an unfortunate hand to be dealt.
The Nuggets and coach Mike Malone, however, continue to plug different players in and find ways to win. Second-year guard Torrey Craig likely never expected to be a starter, especially with Harris and Barton on the roster, but he stepped in, and in two big wins over Oklahoma City and Toronto, Craig finished with 15 points and 13 points.
Luckily, the Nuggets have had the services of Jokic and Murray, who have been their bread and butter all year. Jokic proved to be too much for the Raptors, finishing with 26 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Murray added 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
Backup point guard Monte Morris has also stepped into a bigger role and is averaging 13.6 points, 4.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds and two steals per game over the past five games. Denver is expected to get Barton back in the next two weeks, and once Millsap is back, the Nuggets will be a threat with their added depth.
Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup
|SF||Tim Hardaway Jr.|
The Mavericks’ young starters, Doncic, and Dennis Smith Jr., had been fueling the team when they went on their run. Doncic has still been a handful for every team he faces, but with Smith Jr. doubtful and Jose Juan Barea questionable, Dallas will look to their other rookie, Jalen Brunson, to set the pace on offense and trying to defend Murray.
Brunson played four years at Villanova and seems like a natural born leader, so he will no doubt accept the challenge, as he did against Sacramento. But if the Mavs are going to end their skid, much of the pressure will be on Doncic and Harrison Barnes. Doncic finished with 28 points, nine assists, and six rebounds.
Jordan has been a rebounding machine. Against the Kings, he pulled down 23 and also added three blocked shots. Nikola Jokic should prove to be much more of a challenge than the Kings bigs, but the Mavs will need Jordan to try to limit Jokic and on the offensive boards to get them more shot opportunities.
Denver Nuggets vs. Dallas Mavericks Betting Odds
The Nuggets opened as a -5 point favorite, but the spread is now live at -4.5. The over/under is 209 points and Denver is a -190 on the moneyline with just some slight movement.
The Nuggets have done very well at the Pepsi Center, dropping just three games at home all season. They have a 60.1 win percentage from there and 64.6 percent as the favorite. The Mavs, are 43-95 on the road and 59-128 as the underdog.
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DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks
Jokic and Jordan are the studs for tonight’s game. Jokic is projected for a huge performance against Dallas tonight with 50.59 fantasy points at a FanDuel salary of $11,100. Jordan has a salary of $7,000, making him a value pick as well, and he is projected to finish with 32.94 points.
If Hernangomez plays, he is the clear choice for a value pick on the Nuggets’ roster with a salary of $5,400 and projection of 25.69 points. If he is not available, Mason Plumlee and Monte Morris could be good low-risk backup picks.
Find all of our Fanduel and Draftkings projections here: https://www.lineups.com/nba/nba-fantasy-basketball-projections.