The West-leading Denver Nuggets are the league’s best home team, and they’re in good shape to further improve that record. The ninth-seeded Toronto Raptors, however, are eager to climb up the East ladder.
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HOME: Denver Nuggets (45-19, 29-4 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Jamal Murray
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Michael Porter Jr.
- Aaron Gordon
- Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets are coming in as victors in seven out of their last eight games, where they compile a +7.8 net rating. Their last two wins also came in dominating fashion: 113-97 against the Memphis Grizzlies and 133-112 over the Houston Rockets.
Everything’s appealing on Denver’s side. Probable three-peat NBA MVP Nikola Jokic (24.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 10.0 APG) is at the top of his game, posting triple-doubles left and right, and behind him is Jamal Murray (20.2 PPG, 6.0 APG) alongside a deep supporting cast. Michael Porter Jr. is currently leading that group as he is scoring 20.2 points and swishing 3.3 threes in his last 12, pacing Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Bruce Brown, to name a few. Such variety in offense is resulting in ranking top five in points per game (117.1 PPG) and second overall in offensive rating.
The Nuggets take care of business in Denver. They are 29-4 at home SU, and they have won six-straight home games ATS vs. teams with a losing record.
AWAY: Toronto Raptors (32-33, 12-20 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Fred VanVleet
- OG Anunoby
- Scottie Barnes
- Pascal Siakam
- Jakob Poeltl
Slow as it may be, the Raptors are pushing themselves up the Eastern Conference standings. They have quietly established a 9-3 stretch over the past month, averaging 110.3 points in that span.
The guards starred in Sunday’s 116-109 overtime win against the Washington Wizards – Fred VanVleet had 25 points and 10 assists with six three-pointers, and Gary Trent Jr. chipped in a game-high 26 from the second unit. It helped made up OG Anunoby’s off-night (six points, 2/11 FGs), who should look forward to a redeeming himself.
All-Star Pascal Siakam should also aim for a wake-up performance as he is only at 14.0 PPG on 42.3% shooting in his last two contests. Finally, center Jakob Poeltl, who has an all-around second stint in Toronto (15.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.9 SPG, 1.8 BPG, 76% FG, 9 games) will be in for a challenge opposite Jokic.
The Raptors are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games vs. a team with a winning straight up record. However, they are also just 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games.
Handicap: The Nuggets (-7) win and cover the spread.
Over/Under: Denver dictates a fast pace. The total hits the over (228).