The Brooklyn Nets (43-24, 18-16 away) battle the Denver Nuggets (44-23, 25-10 home) in a battle of top NBA teams from the East and West Conferences. Brooklyn won the first meeting this season, a 122-116 victory in New York.
Saturday’s contest tips off at 10 p.m. EST inside Ball Arena in Denver, CO. According to oddsmakers, the Nets are a 4-point favorite over the Nuggets, and the total is 231.5.
What to Know – Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn is playing their fourth-straight away contest and sixth away trip in seven games. The Nets have struggled over the last week, dropping four games in a row. Even with the losing stretch, the Nets have locked up a playoff berth and sit three games out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Nets are second in the league averaging 118.5 points per game behind a league-best 49.1% shooting from the field. On the defensive end, Brooklyn holds opponents to 115.2 points per game on 46.2% shooting from the floor.
Point guard Kyrie Irving erupted for a season-high 45 points in Thursday night’s 113-109 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Irving finished 17-of-31 from the field, including 7-of-13 from beyond the arc. Forward Kevin Durant added 20 points, and forward Blake Griffin chipped in ten points and ten rebounds.
Durant is the team’s leading scorer this season, averaging 28.0 points per game. Irving is right behind Durant, scoring 27.4 per game. The Nets are without their third-leading scorer, James Harden (25.4 ppg), for the foreseeable future.
What to Know – Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets enter the weekend coming off a 127-120 road loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday night. Denver now has lost two of its last three games after winning nine of its previous ten. The Nuggets are locked into the postseason and sit in fourth place in the Western Conference.
Denver averages 115.1 points per game behind 48.6% shooting from the floor. Defensively, the Nuggets surrenders 111.0 points and allow teams to shoot 46.8% per game.
The Nuggets shot 51.8% (43-for-83) from the floor in Friday night’s loss but turned the ball over 17 times. Forward Michael Porter Jr. lead the Nuggets, scoring 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Center Nikola Jokic collected a double-double, pouring in 24 points and dishing 13 assists.
On the season, Jokic is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 26.4 points per game. The Nuggets are playing without point guard Jamal Murray, who’s second on the team in scoring, after being diagnosed with a torn ACL in mid-April. Porter Jr.’s scoring average has increased each month of the season, and the 22-year old is now third on the team scoring 19.1 points per game.
The Pick is In
Brooklyn got the day off on Friday to travel to Denver while the Nuggets will be playing back-to-back nights. The Nets are 1-4 against the spread over their last five games, while the Nuggets post a 2-5 record ATS in recent home games against Brooklyn.
Denver is a tough out at home, and the struggles by the Nets and a lengthy road stretch make us wonder how much they have left in the tank as we near the end of the regular season. Give us the Nuggets to cover this one at home.
The Pick: Denver Nuggets +4