The Denver Nuggets are in the midst of a three game home-stand, and they host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight (11/11).
The Denver Nuggets enter their matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks with a win in their first home game, of three, against the Portland Trailblazers. The Denver Nuggets narrowly edged the Trailblazers by a score of 108-104. JJ Hickson exploded for a double-double, scoring 19 points and 13 rebounds (both game-highs). Emmanuel Mudiay led the Nuggets in assists with five. Kenneth Faried and Mudiay both put together great games in addition to Hickson.
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Kenneth Faried finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Mudiay chipped in 18 points of his own. Mudiay continues to showcase his potential by being a solid contributor in points, rebounds, and assists. As a 6’5” point guard, Mudiay is a nightmare to guard, and his size allows him to accumulate steals and rebounds, due to his reach and length. With the win against the Trailblazers, the Denver Nuggets improved their record to 3-4. If the Nuggets win against the Bucks, they improve their record to an even .500.
The Denver Nuggets’ matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks presents some matchup problems. The Bucks continually improve each year, and the team boasts their best lineup in years. With Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo headlining their starting rotation, the Nuggets must play the matchup game to limit the Bucks’ strengths. Also, recently, the Milwaukee Bucks deployed a smaller, wing-heavy, lineup to utilize their athleticism.
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Despite the Bucks’ athleticism, they are without star point guard Michael Carter-Williams and shooting guard O.J. Mayo. Thus, the Bucks used Jerryd Bayless, Tyler Ennis, and Greivis Vasquez more this past week. Carter-Williams is doubtful to return to the court for the matchup against the Denver Nuggets, so expect to see a combination of back-up point guards used Wednesday night. While the Bucks have a few injury concerns heading into Wednesday’s matchup, the Nuggets have injury concerns of their own.
The Denver Nuggets are without Wilson Chandler, Jusuf Nurkic, and Joffrey Lauvergne. Both Nurkic and Lauvergne are hampered with lingering back issues; thus, Hickson and Faried look to headline the Nuggets’ front-court. Also, Nikola Jokic figures to be a key piece, of the bench, in the matchup with Bucks. Despite injuries to a good portion of Denver Nuggets’ big men, the team will lean heavily on Mudiay and Barton. Moreover, Danilo Gallinari has a tough matchup against Antetokounmpo, due to Giannis’ freakish athleticism and size.
If the Bucks continue to use a smaller lineup Wednesday, the Denver Nuggets’ weakness (injuries to big men) will not hurt the team as much as it could. However, Jason Kidd could open the game with a bigger lineup, using John Henson and Greg Monroe as his two big men. The Denver Nuggets’ matchup against the Bucks looks tough on paper, but expect the Nuggets to give them a run for their money. And with a win, the Nuggets improve their record to 4-4, their first time back at .500 since the second game of the season.
Tip-off, for the game tonight, is at 7pm, so go pack the Pepsi Center and support your Denver Nuggets. This is a young team with a ton of promise, headlined by future superstar Emmanuel Mudiay. Hopefully, Mudiay builds off of his strong showing against the Trailblazers and uses his mismatch at point guard to his advantage. Following the game against the Bucks, the Denver Nuggets host the Houston Rockets before embarking on a three-game road trip.