After falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers return home tonight to face the Denver Nuggets. It’s also one of the Cavs’ last three games before the All-Star, where most of the team will get a needed rest.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Denver Nuggets
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: Denver Stiffs
- Nikola Jokic is really, really good. After Denver committed to him as a full-time starter, Jokic has emerged as one of the league’s most promising young players. He’s an absurd passer, handles a large portion of the Nuggets’ creative duties and is the key part of an offense that is fantastic in the halfcourt. Going into their game last night against the Knicks, Denver had the best offense rating in the league since Dec. 15.
- Jokic has his issues on defense and in a few other areas, but he’s a special talent. For more on Jokic, I’d recommend Denver Stiffs editor and Locked on Nuggets host Adam Mares’ recent podcast arguing that Jokic is better than Kristaps Porzingis.
- Further proof that Denver’s offense is no joke:
@johnschuhmann DEN scored 131 last night with just 4 fast break points. Anyway to find out if that is the most scored with 4 or less FBP?— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) February 11, 2017
- Other Denver players to watch include Jamal Murray and Jameer Nelson. Murray has really supplanted Emanuel Mudiay as the Nuggets’ guard of the future and already looks like a guy who could be a lead guard for a good NBA team in a few years. Nelson, while maybe not gettable, is a reported trade target for the Cavs. Fans will also remember him as a key piece of the 2009 Orlando Magic.
- Denver does come into this game on the second half of a back-to-back, but they are in the middle of the race for the West’s eighth seed. As of this morning, they’re 1.5 games up on the Portland Trail Blazers and 2.5 games up on the Sacramento Kings. Every win for them matters. For the Cavs, probably not as much.
- As of now, Jordan McRae is listed as the starting shooting guard for Cleveland. That could mean that both Iman Shumpert and DeAndre Liggins will miss tonight’s game. It’s also possible that McRae could just be getting the start after playing well recently.
- If you want a preview of this game in podcast form, the most recent episode of Locked on Cavs features Mares as a guest and covers trades, why Kyrie Irving could go off vs. Denver and more.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavs are better at defending in the half court than in transition. But Jokic presents some problems when Tristan Thompson is off the floor and Denver is legitimately good on offense. Still, Cavs 110, Nuggets 101 in a really fun game.