The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a clash between Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors – and it’s crunch time for both teams.
11:00 (AEST), Fri 30th Apr @ Ball Arena, Denver
History: Played 49: Nuggets 29 V Raptors 20
Last meeting: March 24, 2021: Raptors 135 d Nuggets 111 at Amalie Arena
Final Thoughts: Denver Nuggets are jostling for position at the pointy end of the Western Conference standings, while Toronto Raptors are striving to stay in the hunt for an East play-in tournament slot.
The Raptors scored a 135-111 upset when they hosted the Nuggets last month. Pascal Siakam (27 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast) led the way, with OG Anunoby (23 pts, 6 reb) also solid. Nikola Jokic (20 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast) was the Nuggets’ best.
The boilover was Toronto’s only victory in a horror March. But they have improved to 26-36 with eight wins in 14 games in April. After a 112-96 home win over the Cavaliers earlier this week, they went down to the heavyweight Nets 116-103 the next day.
Fred VanVleet has been ruled out for the Raptors – who sit 12th in the East – putting the back-court onus on Kyle Lowry.
The 41-21 Nuggets are fourth in the West and will be eager to move up at least one spot to avoid a first-round match-up with the Lakers.
But Denver are in outstanding form, winning 15 of their last 18. Runaway MVP favourite Jokic (32 pts, 7 reb, 8 ast) and Michael Porter Jr (28 pts, 8 reb) led a 114-112 eclipse of the Pelicans yesterday.
Meanwhile, Facundo Campazzo is stepping up with Jamal Murray ruled out for the season. The Argentinian had 19 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists in a career-best showing against New Orleans.
The Nuggets are 5-3 on no days’ rest this season. They are also 23-10 at home (though only 14-19 ATS) and have won 11 of their last 12 at Ball Arena.
The Raptors are just 10-20 on the road (12-18 against the line) and have won just one of their last 12 home games.
With a surprisingly modest line to contend with, the Nuggets are the clear pick in this fixture.
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