The Toronto Raptors are on a nine-game losing streak. In their most recent outing, they suffered an embarrassing 99-117 reverse against the Houston Rockets (12-30), who had previously lost 20 games on the bounce.
Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets beat the Orlando Magic 110-99 last Tuesday for their ninth win in their last 11 games. Nikola Jokic and his team are among the top contenders for the title this season, so they need to continue their winning run against the Toronto Raptors.
The 26-17 Denver Nuggets are fifth in the Western Conference, just a game and a half behind the LA Clippers (28-16).
Fixture - Denver Nuggets vs Toronto Raptors | 2020-21 NBA Season.
Date & Time - Wednesday, March 24th; 7:30 PM ET (Thursday, March 25th; 5:00 AM IST).
Venue - Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL.
Denver Nuggets Preview
The Denver Nuggets have not lost consecutive games since February 17. They have fared better in the past three weeks, as each loss has been followed by a winning streak. After falling to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, the Denver Nuggets will hope to begin a new streak by beating the slumping Toronto Raptors.
The Nuggets have too many weapons at their disposal. In Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, they have two players who routinely score at least 20 points or more every night. They also have Will Barton and Michael Porter Jr. to complement the efforts of Murray and Jokic.
The Toronto Raptors could have a long night if they fail to stop Murray or Jokic.
Key Player - Jamal Murray
It looks like Jamal Murray’s four-game struggle after the All-Star break is now behind him.
In his last three games, the 6' 3" guard has averaged 26 points, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game. He is shooting at 50.9% from the field and a sizzling 61.1% from the three.
Murray rose to prominence last year with his explosive performances in the bubble with the Denver Nuggets. Though he has struggled to live up to that at times this season, Murray is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Against the Toronto Raptors, the Denver Nuggets guard could come up against Fred VanVleet, who can light up the scoreboards in a jiffy, in an intriguing duel.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Jamal Murray l Shooting Guard - Will Barton l Small Forward - Michael Porter Jr. l Power Forward - Paul Millsap l Center - Nikola Jokic.
Toronto Raptors Preview
Since March 3, when the Toronto Raptors started their losing streak, they have been at the bottom half of the league in offensive rating (107.6, 23rd) and near the cellar in defensive rating (118.3, 29th).
The difficulties for the team came to a head when star forward Pascal Siakam had an altercation with head coach Nick Nurse following their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If the Toronto Raptors don’t get their act together, their slim postseason hopes will get further diminished. Considering their struggles, the Denver Nuggets are set to trade two or three of the team’s key players.
Key Player - Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry is the face of the Toronto Raptors, but he could be traded ahead of the NBA trade deadline.
Lowry is one of the better point guards in the league. He is no longer an All-Star, but he is the glue that holds the Toronto Raptors together.
This season, he is averaging a rather underwhelming 17.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game.
With the trade deadline approaching closer and the possibility that he could be playing his last game for the Toronto Raptors, Lowry could have an inspired outing against the Denver Nuggets.
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kyle Lowry l Shooting Guard - Fred VanVleet l Small Forward - Norman Powell l Power Forward - Stanley Johnson l Center - Pascal Siakam.
Nuggets vs Toronto Raptors Match Prediction
The Denver Nuggets are the league's fourth highest-scoring team, averaging 115.7 points a game.
They have been one of the best teams in the league since mid-February, and it is difficult to contain them, with Nikola Jokic playing MVP-level basketball and his teammates following his lead.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors’ troubles begin at the defensive end, and lately, they have had trouble stopping teams. With their confidence likely at a season-low during this losing streak, their chances of beating the Nuggets look very bleak.
Barring a miracle, the Denver Nuggets are expected to hand the Toronto Raptors their tenth consecutive loss.