The absence of Marcus Smart has inhibited the Boston Celtics at the defensive end of the floor, as he is a solid three-point shooter off the bench.
The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, have found rhythm and consistency in recent games. After a horrendous start to their campaign, the Denver Nuggets are now on a three-game winning streak.
Denver Nuggets vs Boston Celtics Match Predictions: Three key matchups to look out for
The two teams are quite evenly matched. Both are mid-table playoff teams in their respective conferences, and have their starters healthy.
On that note, let's take a look at three key matchups when the Denver Nuggets will lock horns with the Boston Celtics.
#3 Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets) vs Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
Paul Millsap's focus will be on stopping Boston Celtic's Jayson Tatum in this matchup. He could be the most active at the defensive end of the floor against Tatum.
Jayson Tatum is evolving to be an elite two-way player. While his offense has been good, he has improved his defense this season.
However, Tatum struggled to shoot the ball in his last outing against the Washington Wizards, as he went 3-14 and scored just six points in regulation. He will look to redeem himself in this game, but the Denver Nuggets' Paul Millsap could have other ideas.
#2 Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) vs Tristan Thompson (Boston Celtics)
In what appears to be an unfair matchup for Tristan Thompson, he may not be able to contain the Joker.
Nikola Jokic is arguably the best center in the league. and his nifty passing and court awareness could easily outmatch Tristan Thompson's subpar defense.
However, one aspect of the game that Thompson could match Jokic in is rebounding.
Tristan Thompson leads the Boston Celtics in rebounds (8.6 RPG). If he manages to get the best of Jokic on the boards, the Denver Nuggets could struggle to beat the Boston Celtics.
#1 Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets) vs Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
We live in an era where shooting and spacing are valued more than low-post action. Guards have overtaken big men as the most valuable players in the lineups.
In that regard, the battle of the two point guards, Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets and Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics, could be a key one in the outcome of this game.
Both Murray and Walker are not known for their defense. Hence this matchup could be a playmaking and scoring display.
With Marcus Smart absent from the lineup, Walker could be expected to guard Murray for a major chunk of the game.