The NBA is set up for a slower Tuesday night, with only four games on the board. One of these games will be between the Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets. Both of these teams have been off to surprisingly strong starts this season. Each team will look to keep it going with another win on December 18.
Dallas has started out the season with a 15-13 record. The Mavericks are sitting in ninth place of the Western Conference. The Mavericks have lost two games in a row to the Phoenix Suns and the Sacramento Kings. Dallas is right outside the playoff picture and will look to turn it around before they fall too far in the standings.
The Nuggets have gone 20-9 to start out the new season, which has them sitting in first place of the Western Conference standings. Denver has been doing really well as of recently, winning three games in a row and ten of their last twelve. The Nuggets will look to keep it going with a home win against the Mavericks.
Tuesday night’s game will be the first of three matchups between the Mavericks and the Nuggets. Dallas and Denver will meet again on February 22 and March 14. These two teams are both in the playoff race early in the season, which could lead to an exciting season series between them.
Last Season’s Matchups
These two teams met up four times last season. The first game was hosted by the Mavericks. Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Gary Harris each scored over 20 points for Dallas, but it was not enough. Harrison Barnes had 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Dennis Smith Jr. had 20 points. Dallas’ bench combined for 54 points in route to a 122-105 win.
Denver hosted the second game of the season series. Dennis Smith Jr. had 25 points for the Mavericks. Harrison Barnes added another 17, but it was not enough for Dallas. Nikola Jokic dropped 29 points and 18 rebounds for Denver. Gary Harris had 25 points and Will Barton scored 22 to give the Nuggets a 105-102 win.
The third game of the season series stayed in Denver. Harrison Barnes had another solid night, he dropped 22 points. Gary Harris scored 24, while Jamal Murray had 15 points off the bench. The Nuggets were able to win a more defensive battle 91-89 at home.
The final game of the season series shifted back to Dallas. Wilson Chandler had 21 points for the Nuggets, while Denver’s bench combined for 53 points. Yogi Ferrell had 24 points and the Mavericks starting lineup combined for 88 points. Dallas was able to cruise to a 118-107 win in front of their home crowd.
Dallas and Denver split the season series 2-2 last season. Each team was able to win their two home games. The Nuggets have played really well as of recently and will look to get another home win against Dallas. The Mavericks will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday night.
Dallas has been hit with some pretty big injuries recently. The Mavericks could be without J.J. Barea and Dennis Smith Jr. on Tuesday night. Dallas has also recently gotten Dirk Nowitzki back from injury, which means he has only been getting a few minutes per game.
The Nuggets have had some serious issues with injuries this season. Denver is without Gary Harris, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Michael Porter Jr., Isaiah Thomas, and Jarred Vanderbilt. Porter, Thomas, and Vanderbilt have yet to play this season because of injury. Harris and Millsap have both played big roles in the starting lineup this season.
Luka Doncic has been doing really well to start his career with Dallas. The Mavericks rookie is averaging 18.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Harrison Barnes is averaging 17.8 points per game in the early stages of this season. Wesley Matthews has averaged 14.7 points per game. DeAndre Jordan is averaging 11 points and 14 rebounds per game since coming over in the offseason.
The Nuggets have been led by Nikola Jokic this season. Jokic is averaging 17.7 points, 10 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game at the Center spot this season. Jamal Murray is averaging 17.5 points per game this season. Monte Morris, Juan Hernangomez and Trey Lyles are all averaging around 10 points per game this season.
Denver’s next man up mentality this season has led them to a really strong start. I expect Jokic to take advantage of his mismatch against Jordan. Murray could also take advantage with Smith likely out of the lineup. The Nuggets bench has been one of their stronger points this season, which should be able to play a strong role against the Mavericks.
Dallas is coming into Tuesday night’s game on a losing streak and without Smith and Barea. I believe that this will lead to them continuing to struggle. Denver has injury problems as well, but they have been able to keep their strong play up despite their injuries. The Nuggets also have some intriguing matchups in this game that gives them the edge in my opinion.
Denver is listed as a -5 against the spread. I believe that the Nuggets should be bigger favorites since they are at home. Dallas is coming into this game struggling with recent injuries, which could give Denver an opening. The Nuggets are one of the best teams in the league for a reason and I believe they show it with a big home win on Tuesday night. I am taking Denver against the spread at home.