It’s a battle of two MVP-caliber stars whose teams are off to a rocky start: Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. Who will come out with a W?
Catch this game live tomorrow at 10 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Denver Nuggets (3-4, 2-3 at home)
The Nuggets have now picked up two straight wins after losing four of their first five games. They also showcased sound offense in both victories, hanging 124 and 123 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on back-to-back occasions.
Nikola Jokic had a season-high 35 points during Wednesday’s 123-116 win, and was only one assist shy of locking his fifth triple-double in the very young season. The Joker isn’t a solid MVP pick as of the moment because of Denver’s record, but he definitely has the numbers: 24.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, and a league-leading 11.9 assists per game.
The team’s marquee player, Jamal Murray, is right behind Jokic with 22.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per contest. He dropped 31 and 36 points earlier this week, but cooled off yesterday and only scored 13 on 3-for-7 shooting.
Third leading scorer Michael Porter Jr. (19.5 PPG) will be missing his third straight fourth-straight game due to health and safety protocols. In his absence, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Monte Morris, JaMychal Green, and Facundo Campazzo will continue having more opportunities. All have chipped in multiple double-digit scoring performances since Porter Jr. got sidelined.
The Nuggets are averaging 117.0 PPG this season.
AWAY TEAM: Dallas Mavericks (3-4, 2-3 on the road)
The Mavs’ mediocre 2020-21 campaign is one of the early disappointments this season. They’re coming off a commanding 113-100 win over the Houston Rockets, though, and will now have one of their many remaining chances to turn things around.
Another good sign is the recent victory featured the Mavs burying a season-high 16 three-pointers and holding the opposition to under 40% shooting for the third time in five games.
Though Luka Doncic doesn’t appear to be 100%, as evident in his pedestrian start and needing to sit out last Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, note that he know has consecutive games with a classic ‘Luka stat line’. He’s posting 30.0 points, 15.0 boards, and 9.0 assists over his last two.
With big man Kristaps Porzingis out, Tim Hardaway Jr. (17.0 PPG) and Josh Richardson (13.7 PPG) are again the secondary weapons – the former will look to build-off his red-hot outing against the Rockets, where he notched 30 points with eight three-pointers on 11-for-14 shooting. Back-up point guard Jalen Brunson deserves a mention as well, as he is chipping in 11.7 points and 3.6 assists in only 19.1 minutes of action.
The Mavericks are scoring 107.7 PPG this season.
These two squads are frustrated by their early-season bumps, and they’re hungry to establish a consistent rhythm so expect a good back-and-forth affair tomorrow. Since Doncic and Jokic are on opposite sides, look for a fast-paced, offensive showdown as well.
Both are playing under good momentum, but the host Nuggets should be able to win this one, 119-114.