After a mediocre start to the season, Brooklyn Nets starring Kevin Durant will go up against visitors Denver Nuggets with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, with both teams standing at 10th position in their respective conferences. The game will miss Kyrie Irving who has been ruled out due to 'personal reasons' and Nuggets' rising star Michael Porter Jr due to health and safety protocols of the NBA.
The Denver Nuggets who are riding high on momentum, have won the last 4 out of 5 games and will look to close their road trip with a win over the Brooklyn Nets. Nikola Jokic is already in an All-Star form while leading major stats category for Nuggets and averaging a double-double every night. Jamal Murray, who is averaging over 19 points, hasn't provided a spectacle of scoring recently but will have all eyes on him. The Nuggets support staff is growing back defensively and offensively after a league-worst defensive performance opening the season.
Coach Steve Nash is struggling to get a win on the charts with Kyrie Irving absent for the past 3 games and Kevin Durant trying to get in rhythm. They have already lost Spencer Dinwiddie for the remainder of the season due to an ACL tear. The Brooklyn Nets are finding depth in Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen who are consistently posting double-digits scoring even in absence of their star players. The team has seen six different starting lineups so far and are still figuring out the best fit.
The Denver Nuggets are favorites to take the game against the struggling Nets but this is the NBA where amazing happens on a nightly basis. Until then, let's take a look at the combined starting 5 for the Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets.
Center- Nikola Jokic
The 25-year-old Nuggets' superstar has already posted 4 triple-doubles in 10 games this season. The Joker will surely come out as a frontrunner in the MVP campaign if he keeps up this pace after averaging 24.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game. This has also resulted in him being the only player in NBA history after Oscar Robinson to record at least 200 points, 100 rebounds, and 100 assists in their first 10 games of a season.
Jokic is shooting an impressive 58% from the field and career-high 43% beyond the arc. He will have the odds of DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen to slow him down at the rim but Jokic is a proven scorer and playmaker and his skills will be on full display during the matchup.
Power Forward- Kevin Durant
With six 25+ points performances in seven games under his belt, Kevin Durant is looking confident in making a huge comeback this season for the Brooklyn Nets. He went for a rampant 36 points against the OKC Thunder but was not enough as the Thunder slipped the game away. He is averaging a hefty 29.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game in 34.6 minutes of play. He is shooting well at 51.6% from the field and 42.6% from the 3-point line.
With the second-highest scoring average in the league, Durant will try to deliver another prolific performance for the Brooklyn Nets and end the losing streak which the former MVP is definitely capable of.
Small Forward- Joe Harris
Joe Harris is becoming a name to reckon on the Brooklyn Nets as the sharpshooter has consistently shown his accuracy from the 3-point arc. Harris' skills were at the full display when he sank 6-from-8 from downtown, scoring a game-high 28 points against Atlanta Hawks. He specializes in catch-and-shoot and off-the-dribble threes which makes him a lethal shooter. With the opposition busy in containing Durant and others, this shooter can be a big threat. Harris is averaging 14.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists with 51.7% FG and a remarkable 50.8% beyond the arc.
Shooting Guard- Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert has stepped up for the Brooklyn Nets like none other in the absence of its stars. With Kyrie and Durant out, LeVert took the matter into his own hands and went for 43 points in a loss against Memphis Grizzlies. LeVert has scored 20+ points on five occasions this season and is proving to the NBA that he can be the fit the Brooklyn Nets is looking for alongside their two All-Stars. He is currently averaging 18.4 points, 6 assists, and 4.3 rebounds in 28 minutes per game.
Point Guard- Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray's usage on the Nuggets has been a question early this season, but the rising star is determined to deliver the awe-worthy performances we saw in the NBA Bubble. Murray has been made to share the ball more with Gary Harris and Will Barton but is consistent with his scoring at 48.1% FG and 38.6% from the 3-point line.
He has averaged a good 21.0 PPG since the season opener but we know that the "Blue Arrow" has immense potential and is definitely the player to watch on a nightly basis. As the season progresses, Murray will have the opportunity to be the game changer and own his All-Star jersey this season.Published 13 Jan 2021, 05:19 IST