The Denver Nuggets and the top MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, are hosting the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night. This is one very important battle for the Nuggets, who have a very tough schedule after this one. They will play seven of the final ten games of the season on the road. Meanwhile, the Raptors are better than before, and they have some minimal chances to reach the play-in tournament. Wizards, who are currently 10th in the East, are two games ahead of Nick Nurse’s side.
Toronto Raptors (+150) come into this matchup in colorado with two losses in three games, the most recent against the Nets at “home” in Tampa Bay, 116-103. The 2019 NBA champions had a chance to win the event but ended up playing miserably in the last period allowing 36 points while scoring 20.
Kyle Lowry was very good with 24 points and six assists, sinking six threes in nine attempts. OG Anunoby had 21 points with six boards and assists, while Khem Birch recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 boards. Pascal Siakam disappointed with just 10 points and an awful shooting from the field, 2-for-16.
When looking at the overall team stats comparison, shooting was the problematic area for the Raptors, who matched the East leaders in every other aspect of the game. While Brooklyn shot 48.2%, Toronto’s efficiency was much lower, 39.6%.
Denver Nuggets (-180) won seven of eight without Jamal Murray. Now that is superb, having in mind what the analysts and experts predicted for this team. The main reason for such excellent results is Nikola Jokic, who keeps on pushing towards the NBA MVP award, even though he isn’t the favorite of the media. To be honest, any player who has a streak of above-average performances is immediately nominated for the MVP, and Jokic keeps getting crunches of attention.
Last night the Nuggets beat Pelicans 114-112 after a thrilling ending in which Jokic played the critical role. He ended up with 32 points, 8 dimes, and seven assists, and three steals and blocks each. He would constantly create options for other players, especially Michael Porter Jr., who stepped up and is perfectly replacing Murray. MPJ is one of the most gifted attackers in the NBA, and if you read our previous previews, you’ll find out that we predicted his rise.
Porter Jr had 28 points last night with 8 rebounds, while the Argentinian playmaker Facundo Campazzi scored 19 with 10 assists and six rebounds, confusing the Pelicans in certain moments.
Head to Head Games
Toronto blew away the Nuggets in their previous game, 135-111. That one took place in late March. The Raptors scored 24 threes which was the main reason for their victory. Pascal Siakam had 27 points, Norman Powell 22, Anunoby 23, and VanVleet 19. Jokic and Murray had 20 each in Denver, and MPJ 19.
With Denver on fire right now and Porter Jr. in a good offensive rhythm, we predict an easy win for the hosts in tonight’s clash. Jokic is going to play at his usual level, which will be a problem for the Raptors, who are much weaker than the last time these two sides met. The spread on Denver is -4.5, and we suggest going with the same.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.