The NBA season is already underway, as some teams have gotten off to strong starts while others have already settled in the bottom of their respective conferences. One of the strongest teams is the Denver Nuggets, as they have a record of 6-1 as of now.
They have had a scorching start to begin the regular season and are currently first in the Western Conference. This is where a lot of people predicted them to be. With Nikola Jokic on the roster, everyone knew that the Nuggets would be one of the best teams, if not the best in the Western Conference.
The Denver Nuggets face off against the New Orleans Pelicans at home on Monday night at 6:00 p.m., as the Nuggets are looking to add their seventh win of the season, while New Orleans is looking to go 5-2 after the game.
The New Orleans Pelicans are a bit of an injured team to start the year. CJ McCollum was just diagnosed with a small collapsed lung on Sunday, hoping for a speedy recovery. That is their starting point guard who won’t be playing. They also have a few of their bench players missing, as Trey Murphy III, Naji Marshall, and Jose Alvarado are all set to miss the game.
Jamal Murray is set to miss the game, too. He played a bit against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday but had a hamstring injury that made him leave the game early against Chicago and will keep him out on Monday. This will mean that a player like Reggie Jackson or Jalen Pickett will be inserted into the starting lineup.
With injuries playing a factor in both teams, this will mean that both teams will have to dig deeper into their bench rotation more so than a normal night. Denver might have more players who usually wouldn’t play against the Pelicans, which is fine. All NBA teams have to prepare for times like these.
The Pelicans will have Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram playing, the dynamic forward pair. Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver’s best defenders, will have a tough time matching up against those two.
But with Jamal Murray missing time, that will mean Nikola Jokic will have to carry a bit more of an offensive load than he’s accustomed to. Add in that the New Orleans Pelicans will probably have their best perimeter defender, Herb Jones, on Michael Porter Jr., Jokic and Aaron Gordon will have to do their best.
Because of this, the Denver Nuggets are going to have to attack the rim against the New Orleans Pelicans. Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas are the frontcourt pair for New Orleans, and neither player is known for elite rim protection.
Williamson is not known as a great perimeter defender, either. Giving Gordon a lot of backdoor cuts from Jokic could result in a lot of easy shots around the rim.
My score prediction for tonight will be that the Denver Nuggets defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 112-99, and Nikola Jokic will get a triple double as well.