The Boston Celtics (6-3) continue their 5-game road trip as they take on the Denver Nuggets (8-1) in a Monday night clash at the Pepsi Center. Denver currently sit in second place in the Western Conference, and the Nuggets have beaten some decent teams this season including the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Denver head coach Michael Malone has seen his win totals rise in all three years at the helm and his team narrowly missed the playoffs last season in a final day knockout game to the Minnesota Timberwolves. This year, on current form, one would think Malone has got a great shot to get his squad into the postseason as they currently sit undefeated at home 5-0.
The focus of attention for the Celtics will be starting Center Nikola Jokic (18pts, 10rbds) who likes to have the ball in his hands. The Serbian big man initiates a great deal of ball movement and currently leads the team with 7.7 assists per game. Jokic is on track to be an All-Star this year and the Celtics will have their hands full containing the 23 year old. Another key to the Nuggets early season success is the talented young backcourt duo of Garry Harris and Jamal Murray, the pair combine for 34.6 points per game. Al Horford’s former team mate Paul Millsap is still a solid scoring option and a veteran presence for this young locker room, the Nuggets also have good front court depth with both Trey Lyles and Mason Plumlee offering up different styles of play for coach Malone.
The Celtics head into Monday’s game after suffering a tough 1 point defeat to the Indiana Pacers. Much has been written about the C’s starting unit and their wildly inconsistent start to the season, all the starters are posting offensive efficiency and field goal percentage averages well below their career numbers. Cue Marcus Morris Sr, who has taken over offensively for stretches of games against opposing bench units. The Celtics will be looking for better performances and more consistency from both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum as fellow wing starter Gordon Hayward slowly comes back from injury under a minutes restriction.
Road trips can often bring a team together, coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics will look to get back on track out West and get some momentum going. This is a long road trip and the team don’t return back to Boston until Wednesday November 14th for a matchup against the Chicago Bulls.
Some quick notes courtesy of Abby Chin (NBC Boston) prior to the tip:
Notes from @Celtics shoot in Denver:— Abby Chin (@tvabby) November 5, 2018
▪️Stevens refuses to use altitude as an excuse, but Horford says it’s real.
▪️Brown’s foot felt good, but didn’t like the new orthotics in his shoe last game.
▪️Biggest load on Hayward’s ankle so far, said he’s “hanging in there.” pic.twitter.com/bc16BLF4Xa
PG - Kyrie Irving – Jamal Murray
SG - Jaylen Brown – Gary Harris
SF - Gordon Hayward – Torrey Craig
PF - Jayson Tatum – Paul Millsap
C - Al Horford – Nikola Jokic
Boston - Daniel Theis (Foot), Jabari Bird (Personal)
Milwaukee - Isaiah Thomas (Hip), Michael Porter Jr (Back), Will Barton (Groin), Jarred Vanerbilt (Foot)
How to Watch
Time - 9:00 PM EST
TV - NBC Boston