Photo: Kawhi Leonard – Source: Getty Images North America

Preview: Raptors at Nuggets

The Toronto Raptors’ hopes of a perfect four-game road trip came to an end at Portland on Friday, but they could still head home with a winning record on the excursion. The Raptors will try to finish on a high note when they visit the Denver Nuggets on Sunday in a battle of conference leaders.

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Toronto, which sits atop the Eastern Conference and owns the best record in the NBA at 23-8, breezed by the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors on the first two stops of the trip before falling at the Trail Blazers 128-122 on Friday. Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who sat out the first two games of the trip with a hip injury, returned to the lineup at Portland but All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry (thigh) missed the game and is day-to-day. The Nuggets are the improbable leaders of a tightly-packed Western Conference and are winners of five straight at home after knocking off Memphis and Oklahoma City to begin the current four-game stand. Denver is dealing with its own injury issues and was without two starters – power forward Paul Millsap (toe) and guard Gary Harris Jr. (hip) – in Friday’s 109-98 triumph over the Thunder.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, TSN2 (Toronto), Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE RAPTORS (23-8): Toronto already lost center Jonas Valanciunas for at least four weeks due to a thumb injury on the trip and watched power forward Pascal Siakam leave Friday’s contest with a sore back after coming down on his tailbone in a fall. Siakam, who is enjoying a breakout campaign while averaging a career-best 14.4 points, is questionable for Sunday along with Lowry. Fred VanVleet started at point guard in place of Lowry on Friday and scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting while handing out eight assists.

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (19-9): Denver heaps more responsibility on center Nikola Jokic when someone goes down and he continues to deliver. The 23-year-old came up an assist shy of a triple-double in his fourth consecutive double-double on Friday, collecting 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 15 rebounds and nine assists while adding three steals to a defensive effort that held Oklahoma City to 41.1 percent from the floor. Jokic got some help on the outside from small forward Torrey Craig, who scored a career-high 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Nuggets SG Nick Young made his team debut on Friday after being signed earlier in the week and scored six points in nine minutes off the bench.

2. Raptors SG Danny Green went 5-of-7 from 3-point range en route to a season-high 19 points on Friday.

3. Jokic collected 23 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds in a 106-103 win at Toronto on Dec. 3.

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Posted in NBA, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Rockets at Nuggets

The Carmelo Anthony saga is in high-drama mode as the Houston Rockets visit the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. Anthony will miss his third straight game due to what the team is terming an “illness” while news reports claim he won’t play again for the Rockets.

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Anthony appears to be done with Houston after averaging 13.4 points over 10 games while struggling to fit in as a reserve for the first time in his career. Close friend Chris Paul of the Rockets said “Melo’s been great, working hard every day,” but the quick decision by the organization to move on speaks volumes. Denver’s stunning 9-1 start has been followed with three straight setbacks and the squad was outclassed 121-114 by the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. “This is our first little bit of adversity, so we have respond,” center Mason Plumlee told reporters. “We have to come out and play really well our next home game.”

TV: 9 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (5-7): Houston had the offense clicking during Sunday’s 115-103 victory over the Indiana Pacers and guard James Harden poured in a season-best 40 points. Harden connected on eight 3-pointers during the contest and has tallied 25 or more points in four of the last five games. “When we’re like that, we’re going to score a bunch of points,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters. “And if … our defense can keep improving then we’re the team that we want to be.”

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (9-4): The Denver slide began with two-point losses to the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets. and coach Michael Malone’s frustration level grew with the loss to the Bucks. “I just hate the fact that the way we’ve closed the games,” Malone told reporters. “Forget the wins and losses. But if somebody’s going to beat you, make them beat you and I feel like we’re really contributing to our own demise right now.” Power forward Paul Millsap had his best game of the season Sunday, making five 3-pointers while registering 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Rockets went 3-0 against the Nuggets last season and have won the past seven meetings.

2. Denver C Nikola Jokic is averaging 28.5 points over the past two games after putting up 5.8 over the previous four outings.

3. Houston C Clint Capela (knee) is expected to play after being injured Sunday but SG Gerald Green (ankle) will miss his second straight game.

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Posted in NBA, Top Fantasy Picks

Nuggets at Timberwolves Preview

The final day of the regular season will decide seeding in each conference and give several teams a chance to get healthy or build momentum heading into the playoffs, but only one game is win or go home. The Minnesota Timberwolves host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, and the winner will advance to the postseason while the loser heads to the offseason earlier than anticipated.

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The Timberwolves were in third place in the Western Conference at several points this season and could still finish as high as fifth with a win on Wednesday and some help, or they could miss the playoffs and continue a tough stretch in which the franchise has not qualified for the postseason since 2004. “Don’t nobody like losing,” Minnesota All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler told reporters. “Nobody in this locker room does at least. I think this city deserves to be in the playoffs. We’re the only ones who control that. … If we win this game Wednesday, I think that puts us in the playoffs, right? So that’s what we’ve got to do.” The Nuggets are coming in hot with wins in the last six games and are well acquainted with win or go home basketball after needing a win to stay alive on Monday. Denver managed to overcome an 11-point, second-half deficit and earn an 88-82 victory while holding Portland to 13 points in the fourth quarter.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), FS North (Minnesota)

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (46-35): Denver center Nikola Jokic is driving the team forward and collected 15 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists in Monday’s win for his second straight triple-double and 10th of the season. The 23-year-old is averaging 23.7 points, 16 rebounds and 8.2 assists during the six-game winning streak but suffered through his worst shooting night of the stretch in a 100-96 home win over Minnesota on Thursday, when he went 6-of-20 from the floor. Shooting guard Gary Harris missed that meeting with a knee injury but returned from an 11-game absence on Monday and eased back into the rotation with 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench.

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (46-35): Minnesota picked up wins in the last two games, coinciding with Butler’s return from knee surgery. The veteran swingman played 23 minutes against the Lakers and the Grizzlies and averaged 16.5 points while going a combined 10-of-18 from the floor, and he was not afraid to call out his team after it fell behind the lowly Grizzlies by 10 points in the first half on Monday. “We were just playing soft,” Butler told reporter. “We tend to do that from time to time. Whenever we play hard, good things happen.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Timberwolves PF Taj Gibson (neck) was limited to eight minutes on Monday and is questionable for Wednesday.

2. Nuggets SF Will Barton is averaging 20.3 points during the winning streak, raising his season mark to 15.6.

3. Denver snapped a four-game losing streak in the series with Thursday’s win and is looking for its first victory at Minnesota since Nov. 3, 2016.

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NBA Basketball Fantasy Draft

San Antonio Spurs vs Denver Nuggets

Gregg Popovich’s hot San Antonio Spurs will be heading Colorado to face the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center Friday night after their tough game against arch rivals Golden State Warriors last night. This NBA basketball fantasy draft preview is brought you by FanPicks.com. Come PLAY in our Daily Fantasy Basketball contests at FanPicks and get a free chance to win $1 Million dollars!

NBA Basketball Fantasy Draft

The Nuggets come into this game having lost 5 of their last 6 games. They’re definitely hoping to end this long frustrating season as soon as possible. They’re a young team with some potential to look forward too and possibly one of the best core in the NBA. They’re heading into this game with no possible way to get in the playoffs and will most likely play everyone on their roster. Their opponents, the second biggest powerhouse in the NBA will most likely rest all their top players, therefore, they could potentially snatch up a win with some hard work. San Antonio remains a favorite regardless in this game regardless of the circumstances.

 

San Antonio has only lost 5 games since the end of January. Their only losses have came against elite playoff teams and their solid defense has been nothing less than remarkable all year. Their consistent results just shows everyone how good this team is and they will most likely continue to play this low key fantastic way. Although, their most recent loss last night was pretty emphasized as a loss of their pursuit for the top seed in the Western Conference and moreover, the number one overall, their head coach Gregg Popovich focuses strictly on his players fitness for the important post season right around the corner. It will be surprising if their top players get even over 20 minutes of play in this game.

 

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Fantasy Basketball Cash Draft Nuggets vs Pelicans

Dominate your competition with our Fantasy Basketball Cash Draft, create the winning lineup at Fanpicks.com. The Denver Nuggets (32-4) travel to Louisiana to face the New Orleans Pelicans (27-47) at Smoothie King Center.Fantasy Basketball

The Nuggets come into this game victorious in three of their last five and the most recent win over the Memphis Grizzlies secured a winning month of  March. That’s the first month over the .500 record line that this team has had all season and it shows how much they have grown. Youngsters like Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic are both especially talented and may be two of the five best rookies in the league this season.

All the talk in New Orleans is about how they are a cursed franchise and there may be some reality to that with the injuries they have suffered. They are now without Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole for the rest of the season. All of these players have had injury question marks in the past though, so it may not be a matter of luck as much as it’s substandard management. Having this many injury prone players on one roster is too risky and this sort of year shows the worst case scenario. With how shorthanded the Pelicans are, look for them to be a small underdog in this confrontation.

Top Fantasy Picks

G Toney Douglas (NOP)

F Dante Cunningham (NOP)

C Nikola Jokic (DEN)

Posted in NBA

Thunder vs Nuggets

FanPicks.com NBA Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder (30-12) will take on the Denver Nuggets (16-25) at Pepsi Center in Denver, CO on Tuesday. Fanpicks.com is proud to announce its RotoPicker free to use tool, which allows you to create winning line ups and dominate your fantasy basketball competition.  Play the most exciting contest, including the newest $10K Grand Action and Point Spread contests only at Fanpicks.com the premiere daily fantasy basketball site

Projected Lineup

Starting Lineup

 

Since the start of the season, the Thunder have been one of best teams in the NBA. They’ve improved their defense, as it rose nearly 20 spots in the defensive rankings since the first few weeks. The offense is still efficient, as they now rank 2nd in points scored. Russell Westbrook comes into this matchup with 2 straight triple-doubles and he may have a good chance at another one here against a poor Denver defense. Not to mention, Westbrook had 30 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists the last time these two teams squared off. Oklahoma City are projected 9 point favorite.

 

Denver has won 4 of their last 6 games; one of their best stretches of the season. Gallinari has been fantastic in that stead. He’s averaging 24 points per game since returning from an ankle injury 8 games ago. It hasn’t been a great season for Denver, but the future appears to be bright with players like Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris all playing great basketball and are all under 21 years-old. In the injury front, regular starters Wilson Chandler and Jusuf Nurkic are still out of the lineup. It will be a tough task for this squad to win tonight against a team with whom they’ve struggled with for years.

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Fanpicks.com NBA Game Preview

Denver Nuggets vs. Memphis Grizzlies

 

The Denver Nuggets (13-23) will be hosted by the Memphis Grizzlies (19-18) on Friday evening. Fanpicks.com is proud to announce its RotoPicker free to use tool, which allows you to create winning line ups and dominate your fantasy basketball competition.  Play the most exciting contest, including the newest $25K Grand Action and Point Spread contests only at Fanpicks.com the premiere daily fantasy basketball

Starting Lineup The Nuggets finally put a halt to a six-game skid on Wednesday night, edging the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road in a low-scoring affair, 78-74. Danilo Gallinari led the team in production as one of only two players on the team to score in double digits, putting up 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Gallinari also made 6 of 7 shots from the foul line. Kostas Papanikolaou scored a double-double off the bench with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Denver shot a putrid 35.8% from the field. The team is 8th worst in the NBA in both offense and defense, averaging 98.8 points and allowing opponents to put up 103.4 points per game. The Nuggets are 5-11 at home and will return from Memphis for an eight-game stand at Pepsi Center against some of the best teams in the West, including Golden State and Oklahoma City.

The Grizzlies have been the picture of inconsistency all season long, losing their latest game on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 112-94, as they remain in third place in the Southwest Division. Mario Chalmers, who has been a boon for the team since being acquired for their 2105-16 campaign, led Memphis in scoring off the bench with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists, making 4 of 8 three-point attempts in the process. Chalmers is averaging 10.5 points for the team on the season. Matt Barnes added 13 points but wasn’t able to find a rhythm from long range, putting in only one triple in six attempts. Friday’s contest will be the first of a six-game stretch at home for the Grizzlies

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Fanpicks.com NBA Game Preview

Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

 

The Denver Nuggets (12-23) will be hosted by the Minnesota Timberwolves  (11-22) at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Wednesday evening. Fanpicks.com is proud to announce its RotoPicker free to use tool, which allows you to create winning line ups and dominate your fantasy basketball competition.  Play the most exciting contest, including the newest $10K Grand Action and Point Spread contests only at Fanpicks.com the premiere daily fantasy basketball site

Fantasy basketball The Nuggets are quickly sliding towards the cellar of the Northwest Division and with a loss to the Wolves on Wednesday, they will reach that destination. Denver has gone 1-9 in their past 10 games, their most recent loss coming on Sunday against the Trail Blazers 112-106. In his second game back from a sprained ankle Danilo Gallinari led the way for the Nuggets with a game-high 29 points (8-13 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 11-16 FT), five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in 36 minutes. Kenneth Faried was able to play in the loss only a game after enduring a scary injury to his neck which resulted in him being taken out of the stadium in a stretcher. In his return to the court Faried had 13 points (6-14 FG, 1-5 FT), nine rebounds, one assist, and a block in 27 minutes. Rookie Emmanuel Mudiay returned to practice on Tuesday who has been held out of action since spraining his ankle on Dec. 11. If he is able to play on Wednesday, it would most likely be in a limited role, coming off the bench for Jameer Nelson. The Nuggets are 2-1 against the Timberwolves this season, winning the last matchup on Dec. 15, 112-100.

The Timberwolves haven’t been much better than their Northwest Division counterpart, going 1-7 in their past eight games. Their most recent loss came on Monday to the league-worst 76ers 109-99. Shabazz Muhammad had a season-high 20 points (8-11 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 3-4 FT), with three rebounds, an assist, and a steal in 34 minutes off the bench. Andrew Wiggins added 16 points (4-9 FG, 8-10 FT), three rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a steal over 25 minutes. Nikola Pekovic has a “50-50” chance of playing on Wednesday after being cleared for full contact practices last week. If he does play, it will be in a very limited role. The Timberwolves are lowly 7-10 at home this season.

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