The Dallas Mavericks had their way with a depleted Los Angeles Clippers squad a few days ago, but things will be a little more difficult tonight as they take on a Denver Nuggets team that is currently occupying the fourth seed in the daunted Western Conference with a record of 13-9. However, against a team that’s losing their two talented big men, Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap, the Mavs definitely have an opportunity to steal a win.
Here’s what to look for tonight.
Jokic being out helps Dallas’ chances
This is because Jokic literally does it all for Denver. So far this season, he leads the Nuggets in scoring (15.5 PPG), rebounding (10.6 RPG) and assists (4.6 APG). For a 6’10” center, those are spectacular numbers, but for him to be leading Denver in assists really speaks to Denver’s lack of playmaking abilities from its guards. Emmanuel Mudiay has the next highest assist average at 3.3 per game.
The Mavs should consider themselves lucky that they don’t have to worry about Jokic this time around. His absence definitely increases Dallas’ chances of a victory tonight, but they’ll still need to bring it, because short-handed teams can be dangerous.
The Nuggets are a bad road team
Denver is currently sitting at fourth place in the Western Conference with a record of 13-9, but they are a drastically different team on the road than they are at home. At home, the Nuggets boast an impressive 10-2 record. On the road, however, they are only 3-7 so far this season, scoring nearly 12 fewer points than what they’re used to at home.
After completely dismantling the struggling Clippers with 16 made three pointers on Saturday, the Mavs hope some of that momentum will carry over to this game. If it does, don’t be surprised if Dallas comes away with their second consecutive blowout victory.
Nerlens Noel hotdog watch
Just kidding — we’ll actually be watching to see if the whole hotdog debacle magically results in Noel getting some playing time. Why would that have any affect on his playing time? I don’t really know. Will it happen? I highly doubt it, but that whole situation Saturday was so very awkward, and on Sunday, the Mavs somehow managed to make it even more awkward by doing this.
But, maybe, just maybe, it took something dumb like this to release some tension (assuming there was some) between Rick Carlisle and Noel. There’s probably nothing to this, and to be completely honest, I probably just wasted a “reason to watch” section. I won’t hold my breath, but at least for now it looks like the two sides are maybe trying to work something out.
How to watch
The Mavs and Nuggets will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. Central and can be watched on FSSW or NBA League Pass.