The 2020-21 NBA season continues with another exciting clash as the Cleveland Cavaliers get ready to host the Denver Nuggets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday. Both sides previously clashed in a lopsided game where the Nuggets overpowered the Cavs to a 133-95 final decision in their favor.
The Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves on one of the longest losing streaks in the association this season, with an eight-game skid ahead of this matchup. Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets have been inconsistent, dropping their last two games, but have managed to keep their eighth spot in the West.
With both sides hungry for a win, this matchup could witness fireworks from the get-go.
Fixture: Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Friday, February 19th, 2021 7:00 PM ET. (Saturday, February 20th, 5:30 AM IST)
Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
Denver Nuggets Preview
The Denver Nuggets have been inconsistent this campaign and have not displayed the same tenacity they did last season. After dropping one to the struggling Celtics, the Nuggets then slumped further when they fell to the struggling Washington Wizards in their previous outing. The back-to-back defeats are a worrying signal for coach Michael Malone.
In the loss to the Wizards, the Denver Nuggets were even 125 apiece after Jamal Murray made a big three to tie the game. However, they could not keep their nerves on the defensive end, fouling the red-hot Davis Bertans on a three-point attempt. This proved to be a critical failure that lost them the game.
On a brighter note, Jokic and Murray have been on a tear lately and combined for a total of 67 points in the game against the Wizards.
The Denver Nuggets will now face a similar predicament when they lock horns with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. A third straight loss to a team with a losing record will cast a shadow of doubt on their title aspirations this campaign.
There's more bad news for the Denver Nuggets as PJ Dozier, Will Barton, and Paul Millsap will be unavailable for this matchup.
Key Player - Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic is coming off another spectacular performance against the Wizards. The Joker tallied 33 points, in which he dished out nine assists and controlled seven boards in 37 minutes from the floor.
Jokic continues to be a front-runner for the MVP title this season but will need a lot more from his teammates to make a successful run in the postseason.
Jokic has been averaging a near triple-double this season, with 27.4 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 8.6 assists on a terrific 57% shooting from the field. He's also shooting a respectable 40% from downtown.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Lineup
PG Monte Morris, SG Jamal Murray, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF JaMychal Green, C Nikola Jokic
Cleveland Cavaliers Preview
The Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the in-form Golden State Warriors in their previous outing. The Cavs got a 129-98 thrashing as they poorly shot the ball (38.9% FG) for their 19th loss of the season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have benched their big man, Andre Drummond, as they are actively looking to trade him. The Cavs will most probably offload the 27-year-old before the trade deadline.
Meanwhile, Kevin Love has participated in team practice sessions but there is no timeline for his return to the hardwood just yet.
The Cavs were scheduled for a game with the Spurs on February 17th, but the game was postponed due to the league's strict COVID-19 protocols.
Key Player - Collin Sexton
In the loss to the Warriors, Collin Sexton led the effort for the Cleveland Cavaliers with a team-high 23 points and five assists in an extended 42 minutes from the floor.
Sexton has shown a lot of promise this campaign, but he and the team are currently stuck in limbo until the front office can make their roster move(s). The team is in desperate need of wins and will be eagerly waiting for a decision that allows them to continue with a cohesive unit post the trade deadline.
In 24 games this season, Sexton is averaging 22.8 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.5 rebounds on an efficient 48% shooting from the floor.
Cleveland Cavaliers Predicted Lineup
PG Darius Garland SG Collin Sexton SF Isaac Okoro PF Taurean Prince C Jarrett Allen
Nuggets vs. Cavaliers Match Prediction
The Denver Nuggets are coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of a team with the third-worst record in the East. Nikola Jokic will be determined to stop the rot and could potentially explode for a big game on the road.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers are facing a nightmare scenario and will hope to switch things up by registering an upset on Friday night. However, the Cavs have now gone 1-9 in their last 10 outings and will face an uphill battle as they attempt to slow down a top MVP candidate in Nikola Jokic.
The Denver Nuggets are the favorites to take this one.
Where to Watch Nuggets vs. Cavaliers?
The Denver Nuggets - Cleveland Cavaliers game will be televised on Fox Sports Ohio and Altitude Sports (Denver). International audiences can catch the game on NBA League Pass.