Denver Nuggets at the Dallas Mavericks Preview
Tonight’s matchup between the Nuggets and Mavericks an important game for the Western Conference standings. Dallas won the first meeting between these two teams, 109-106, but that was only the fourth game of the season. Even though we are still relatively early into the season the playoff race in the West is already starting to take shape. Denver (25-11) currently sits at 2nd in the conference but there are only separated by two games from the 6th placed Mavericks (23-13). Both teams are coming off an up and down past few games with Denver going 3-2 and Dallas going 2-3 over their past five games with both teams coming off of wins on Monday night. Although both teams are coming off wins, they were against struggling Eastern Conference teams in the Hawks and Bulls.
Time: 6:30 PM Central
Arena: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Nuggets: Bol Bol (O)
Mavericks: Isaiah Roby and Kristaps Porzingis (O)
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
The Nuggets have picked up right where they left off last year and have been able to do so through a balanced scoring approach as well as through their depth all over the roster. The centerpiece of the Denver offense is still Nikola Jokic. Even though his numbers are down slightly he is still averaging nearly 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Nuggets are coming off a bounce-back win against the Hawks after suffering a disappointing loss to the Wizards in the matchup prior. The win against the Hawks was a huge game in terms of the future due to the fact that Nikola Jokic had arguably his best game of the season after not providing his usual workload in the upset vs the Wizards. Jokic dominated the Hawks putting up a season-high 47 (his previous high on the season was 31) along with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 made 3-pointers. It will be a huge boost if this can serve as the kickstart for Jokic to return to the scorer that he was last year. Denver also was aided by Will Barton also going off for a season-high scoring outing with 28. The Nuggets will look for more production from Gary Harris and Paul Millsap who combined for only 6 points and -20 +/-.
Their offense has been helped by the production they have received from their point guard unit, Jamal Murray and Monte Morris. The duo combined for 30 points along with 10 assists (8 of which Murray was responsible for). The Nuggets will really on Jokic and Murray for their offensive production. It will be a huge boost if Millsap and Harris can put together a bounce-back game. Without Porzingis the Nuggets, who are one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the NBA, should look to capitalize on crashing the offensive boards.
Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup
The Mavericks are coming off a much-needed win against the Bulls after losing to an inferior Hornets team in the game prior. Dallas beat the Bulls despite being without their number 2 scorer Kristaps Porzingis. Doncic and Porzingis have not yet fully hit their stride together offensively but still have the makings of a lethal duo, especially through the pick and roll/pop. It seemed that Porzingis was just starting hit his stride when he was given the keys to the offense over a four-game stretch where Doncic was injured until getting injured once again.
The Mavs didn’t need Porzingis to beat the Bulls thanks to Doncic having yet another 30-point triple-double. Luka poured in 38 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 10 assists. This was Doncic 9th 30-point triple-double of the season and putting together an MVP caliber season. Dwight Powell was the next largest contributor against the Bulls putting up 16 points on a perfect shooting night (6/6 from the field and 4/4 from the line) while adding 7 rebounds.
The Mavericks are going to need another big night from Doncic if they want to notch a win over Jokic and the 2-seeded Nuggets. The Mavericks have been one of the most prolific 3-point shooting teams this year and their success from distance will be an indicator of their performance.
Key Player Matchups
Gary Harris vs Tim Hardaway
This is not necessarily a matchup that will put key matchups on display as the focal points of their offense and defense will not be matched up against one another. This is why I think it is important to highlight a matchup that doesn’t seem to be one that is vital, but it could play an important part in this game. If either side can get an overly productive game from these 2 guards, it could play a huge part in the outcome of the game.
Will Barton vs Luka Doncic
You can’t talk about a Mavericks game without highlighting Doncic and his matchup. Both of these small forwards are coming off fantastic games. Barton has been one of Denver’s most consistent defenders and it would give them a huge advantage if he could even slow down Doncic a touch.
In terms of DFS there are a few players that should be primed to help. Studs such as Doncic and Jokic are obvious picks but there is value with a player like Dwight Powell who should see more opportunities with Porzingis sidelined.
Bet on Matchup
Odds Shark has Denver getting 2 points on the road which is the bet that I would take. Dallas actually has a worse record at home (11-8) than on the road and I think the Nuggets will be able to cover the 2 points.
Quick Links: Game Lines
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