Nets-Nuggets: Denver Avoids First 2-Game Skid of Season

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, November 8, 2018 1:14 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 1:14 PM UTC

The Brooklyn Nets look to get back to .500 and win a third straight game Friday night when they visit a hugely surprising Denver Nuggets side.

Brooklyn (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) at Denver (9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS)Friday, 9 p.m. ETFree NBA Pick: Nuggets ATSBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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It almost figures that the Nets would be decent this year. Why do we say this? Because for the past forever, it seems, the Nets didn’t own their first-round pick as they had to give it to Boston – or swap with the Celtics – because of that horribly short-sighted Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade.

Well, Brooklyn finally has its first-round pick in the 2019 draft … but might be too decent to get a super-high selection and land a possible franchise-changing talent. The Nets also own the first-round pick of Friday night’s opponent, the Denver Nuggets. Brooklyn had a ton of cap space this summer so it did the Nuggets a solid: Took on the contracts of forwards Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur for Denver’s 2019 protected first-round pick and a 2020 second-rounder. Faried almost never plays for the Nets, who turned around and traded Arthur for Phoenix.

That trade freed around $21 million in salary that potentially will save Denver $43 million in payroll and luxury tax in 2018-19. That pick will convey next summer because it’s only protected spots 1-12 and the Nuggets aren’t going to be in the lottery.

Denver swept Brooklyn last year by scores of 124-111 at the Barclays Center and 112-104 in the Mile High City. Both were early in the 2017-18 season. Nikola Jokic dominated in the two, averaging 31.0 points and 11.5 rebounds. The Nets are just 11-34 all-time in Denver.

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Tonight's takeaways from a tough loss in Memphis.#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/nXte1TvfHH

— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 8, 2018
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Nuggets Caught in Trap?

Brooklyn has won two straight and three of four. The team began a four-game trip through the Western Conference on Tuesday with a 104-82 blowout victory in Phoenix. Caris LeVert led with 26 points – the former Michigan star is having a breakout season. He’s averaging 20.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He already has a career-high seven 20-point games this season. LaVert only averaged 12.1 ppg last year.

On Friday, the Nets could see the season debut of veteran forward DeMarre Carroll (a trade candidate). He has yet to go due to a right ankle problem but has been practicing in full. Carroll would be valuable to a contender if he plays like he did last year with the Nets when he averaged 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds, plus he’s a good defender.

Denver perhaps was caught in a bit of a letdown game Wednesday in Memphis. The Nuggets were coming off impressive home wins vs. Utah and Boston and that trip to Memphis was the club’s only road game in a stretch of seven. So, perhaps not a shock the Nuggets lost 89-87. Marc Gasol hit the go-ahead free throws with 4.6 points left. Jokic’s 3-pointer after that was off the mark as was an attempted tip-in.

Jokic is fabulous but had just four points on one shot attempt as he was in some foul trouble. Jamal Murray followed his career-high 48-point game with just 15. Denver shot only 29 percent and 8-for-32 from deep. It was easily the fewest points Denver has scored this year, and the 176 points combined by the teams tied for the fewest in an NBA game in 2018-19. The Nuggets are second in the NBA in defense (101.2 ppg).

  • Nuggets are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games.
  • Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.

Again, I give little credence to Wednesday’s loss for Denver, and it will bounce back with a double-digit victory for a Friday NBA pick to avoid its first losing streak of the year.

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