DENVER, Colo. – The Denver Nuggets, the top team in the Western Conference, will welcome the top team in the Eastern Conference on Sunday night as the Toronto Raptors make their only appearance in Denver this season. The Nuggets and Raptors met earlier this month as Denver pulled out a 106-103 win in Toronto.
The Nuggets come in to tonight’s game with a 19-9 record, having won nine of their last 11 games. The Nuggets have found a great deal of success at home with an 11-3 record at Pepsi Center this season. The Nuggets have won their last two games, winning Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies and Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Raptors are 23-8, having dropped their last contest against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. The Raptors are just 6-4 in their last 10 games with some impressive wins over teams like the Golden State Warriors twice and the Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto has also dropped a game to the below .500 Brooklyn Nets as well as falling at home to the East’s second place team, the Milwaukee Bucks.
Here is what to watch for tonight:
Winning with defense: Friday’s win over Oklahoma City was the fifth time in the last 10 games that Denver has held an opponent to under 100 points. The Nuggets are 11-1 this season when they’ve kept their opponent under the century mark, a number that ties them with three other teams for the most in the league.
The Nuggets are allowing the third fewest points per game at 103.5 but tonight’s opponent is averaging the fourth most points in the league at 115.8. Denver is second in the league in holding opponents to shoot just 32.2% from three-point range, while Toronto shoots 35.3 from deep.
Next man up: The Nuggets have been plagued by injuries recently but have still found a way to win. After losing Gary Harris and Paul Millsap earlier this month and with Jamal Murray able to play but still banged up, the Nuggets have found success as other players step up into new roles. Monte Morris, Malik Beasley and Trey Lyles have stepped up off the bench and have found themselves making key contributions late in several games. Torrey Craig and Mason Plumlee have stepped into the starting lineup and have provided valuable defense and energy to keep the Nuggets at the top of the Western Conference.
Nikola Jokić doing it all: The Denver big man put on one of his most performances against the Raptors earlier this month as he recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists. Jokić is averaging 21 points, 11.3 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 1.8 steals in the month of December.
Tonight’s game will tip at 6 p.m. MT and will air on Altitude TV and the AltitudeNOW app. Fans can listen on Altitude Radio, 92.5 FM.