Boston Celtics @ Denver Nuggets

Growing up, Mondays were spent waiting eagerly for a weekly tradition between my brother and I: WWE Monday Night Raw. As long as we did our homework beforehand, we were granted permission to indulge in all the drama, flashy costumes and Stone Cold Stunners to our hearts desire.

Today feels a lot like one of those Mondays from my childhood knowing that the Denver Nuggetsare playing host to the Boston Celtics tonight. The Nuggets are off to an incredible start at 8-1 and have quickly entered the conversation of being among the NBA’s elite. At 6-3, Boston is off to a slower start than anticipated but is still considered to be a legitimate threat in the East. Still, the Celtics will be a different kind of test for this young Nuggets team.

The outcome of tonight’s match won’t be scripted, but here’s to hoping it ends with another Nuggets victory.

The Basics

Who: Boston Celtics (6-3) at Denver Nuggets (8-1)

When: 7:00 PM MT

Where: Pepsi Center, Denver CO

How to watch: Altitude Sports Network, League Pass

Position
Denver
Boston
Edge
PG
Jamal Murray
Kyrie Irving
Celtics
SG
Gary Harris
Jayson Tatum
Even
SF
Torrey Craig
Gordon Hayward
Celtics
PF
Paul Millsap
Semi Ojeleye
Nuggets
C
Nikola Jokic
Al Horford
Nuggets
Bench
Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Trey Lyles, Mason Plumlee
Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Aron Baynes
Even

Three Things to Watch

Defense first. Here are some words I never thought would be written on Denver Stiffs: the Nuggets are a defensive team. Nine games in and Denver ranks third in the league in defensive rating, and has already held opponents to under 100 points five times this year. Though they are far from perfect on the defensive end of the floor, the legitimacy of the sample size is growing day by day. Boston, however, is notorious for being a top-notch defensive team and currently ranks first in that category.

Fortunately for Denver, the Celtics are somehow a bottom five team offensively so far this season. This can’t be the game where Gordon Hayward or Jayson Tatum is allowed to go off, and Kyrie Irving will need to be contained. Denver has managed to succeed at holding off opposing stars for the most part this season. Let’s see if that trend continues.

Will the ball finally pop tonight? It’s almost ironic that Denver’s best start to a season is coming on the backs of the defense when the team is pretty much built to be an offensive juggernaut. Still, we’ve only seen glimpses of the magic that the Nuggets can bring. Nikola Jokic looked like an MVP the first week of the season, and though he is still the focal point for the team he has only been quietly filling up the stat sheet. Jamal Murray is still in his annual-start-the-season-slow mini-slump and is due for a breakout game. Denver is 28th in the league in three-point percentage.

The offense has been sluggish, and often has even been bailed out by strong bench play from Juancho Hernangomez and Malik Beasley. The Nuggets have found ways to win still, but at some point they will need to reliably get buckets.

Let’s keep this train a-rollin! After tonight, Denver will either be 9-1 or 8-2. No matter what happens, this has been an amazing start to the season filled with some highlight reel moments. Juancho’s block, Millsap’s putback, Plumlee’s three! Mile High Basketball is definitely back, and this is just the beginning. Let’s enjoy it to the fullest!

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