Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets Matchup Preview
The final day of the NBA regular season is upon us, with eight different teams in action. This particular game will be a battle of high seeds in the playoffs, as the Toronto Raptors (52-19) will take on the Denver Nuggets (46-26). The Raptors enter the playoffs as the #2 seed in the East behind the Milwaukee Bucks while the Nuggets are sitting comfortably in the #3 seed behind the Lakers and Clippers. If both of these teams play all of their starters, this could be an exciting game to watch. Since the beginning of the NBA restart, the Clippers (56.9%) and the Nuggets (56.6%) are first and second respectively in eFG%. These are two efficient offenses with plenty of weapons at each team’s disposal. Nikola Jokic has been phenomenal for the Nuggets, acting as both a primary scoring option and the team’s main playmaker. Denver has also gotten solid production from Michael Porter Jr., who has broken out onto the scene during the NBA restart. The Clippers, of course, are led by All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who are averaging 27.1 and 21.5 points per game, respectively. Considering both teams have already solidified their positions in the playoffs, both teams likely rest a lot of their starters. If not, this game will be one to watch.
Time: 1:30 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
Channel: Altitude Sports, TSN
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Nuggets Starting 5
The Nuggets are coming off of a 124-111 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Had the Nuggets won that game, they would’ve had a chance to move up to the West’s 2nd seed with a win in this game and a Clippers loss to the Thunder in their final game. However, that didn’t exactly work out, and the Nuggets find themselves locked into the 3rd seed. Many of the Nuggets’ top players couldn’t seem to get it going offensively in the game against Los Angeles. The team’s leading scorer was Jerami Grant off the bench with 25 points, while Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Paul Millsap combined for 26 points. When facing quality teams like the Clippers or Raptors, the Nuggets will need to rely on their top talent to get the job done offensively. When looking at the matchup, I think that Nikola Jokic facing Marc Gasol could be favorable for the Nuggets. Gasol is a big presence down low, but Jokic is much more talented offensively. I believe that if matched up, Jokic will be able to exploit the matchup, which could lead to plenty of opportunities for the offense. This Nuggets team is loaded with offensively talented players around Jokic, which are exactly the kind of players he needs around him to thrive.
Raptors Starting 5
The Raptors have quietly been red-hot throughout the NBA restart. They have gone 6-1 during NBA bubble play, with their only loss coming at the hands of the #3 seeded Boston Celtics. In their last game, the Raptors defeated the 76ers by a score of 125-121 in a high-scoring affair. Toronto had six players reach double-digit points, including a team-high of 19 points for both Kyle Lowry and Chris Boucher off the bench. A large portion of the Raptors’ success can be attributed to their coach, Nick Nurse. After winning the NBA Championship last season, Kawhi Leonard decided to depart Toronto to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. Many people thought that the Raptors would still be a competitive team this year, but no one expected them to finish #2 in the Eastern Conference again. Nurse has taken his group of talented role players and turned them into a contender. Pascal Siakam also broke out onto the scene this year following winning Most Improved Player in 2019. Siakam’s All-Star presence, combined with veteran leadership and quality role players, makes this team click. When looking at their matchup against the Nuggets, I think they have a strong chance to win the game. Although Denver is a talented offensive team, the Raptors are the 2nd best defense in the NBA according to defensive rating. If all the starters play, this should be a fun game to watch.
Raptors vs Nuggets Fantasy Basketball Angle
For the daily fantasy angle for this game, I decided to highlight Nikola Jokic. He is easily the best player on the Nuggets and is probably will be the best player on the floor in this game. Jokic is averaging 20.2 points. 9.9 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. He is a skilled big man who scores, rebounds, and dishes out assists to his teammates. Nikola Jokic is everything you could want in a fantasy player, as he stuffs the stat sheet night in and night out. He will be faced up against Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, most likely in this matchup. They are both quality defenders, but I think that Jokic will get the best of them in this game. My best advice would be to start the Joker for this matchup against the Raptors.
Raptors vs Nuggets Betting Odds
Nuggets Odds: -127
Raptors Odds: +108
The oddsmakers are favoring the Nuggets in this game, and I’m not sure if I agree with that. Both of these teams are very talented basketball clubs that both could make deep runs in the playoffs. However, I think that Toronto is the overall better team in terms of coaching and depth. For that reason, I am picking the Raptors to win this game, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Denver pulls out the win in this one.
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