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The Nuggets come in off a tough loss against Los Angeles that saw the Clippers score 74 second-half points. The team is just 3-3 in the bubble, allowing the Clippers to pass them for the second seed in the Western Conference. Young Michael Porter Jr. can fill it up, but still has much to learn defensively. So do his teammates. Nobody has surrendered more than the 122.4 points per 100 possessions the Nuggets have given up since the NBA restart. Toronto has been the best defensive team in that period. The Nuggets also don’t hit enough three-pointers. Only four of the 22 teams in Orlando have averaged fewer per game.
Marc Gasol vs. Nikola Jokic
There’s a good chance many regulars are out, but we’d love another look at the league’s most gifted offensive big man squaring off against one of the best defensive centres of his generation. Jokic handed out 13 assists against the Clippers and only had a single turnover. Jokic had 23 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists in a March 1 win over Toronto, though Gasol and Serge Ibaka were both out of the lineup due to injuries. Gasol has been playing well lately.
DID YOU KNOW?
Denver leads the NBA in assists per game in Orlando … Canadian Jamal Murray is averaging 18.8 points per game and the team is 17-8 when he scores at least 20 in a game … Player development coach Stephen Graham is the twin brother of former Raptor Joey Graham … Toronto has lost three straight games against Denver … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 13 NBA players (min. 50 games in each of the last two seasons) are averaging at least six more points per game this season than they did in 2018–19. Three of those players are Raptors: Norman Powell, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam.
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