Preview: Denver Nuggets look to extend winning streak against Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets (28-21) have finally tied their longest winning streak of the season with five straight wins following Sunday’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Now, they head to Minneapolis to meet up with the Minnesota Timberwolves (25-25) to continue their six-game road trip. Denver will be looking to keep that momentum rolling tonight against Minnesota.

The Nuggets have won six of their last seven and eight of their last 10, with the two losses coming against the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies, who are currently third and fourth in the Western Conference standings. The Nuggets had won 12 straight in the head-to-head matchup between these two squads before Minnesota came up with a win in December when Anthony Edwards put up 38 points. Denver will be looking to get back to those old ways.

For Minnesota, they’ve gone through spells all year of up and down basketball. After starting the season just 3-7, they proceeded to go 8-3 over their next 11 games. They’re in the middle of one of those hotter streaks after stumbling through December with a 9-6 record through the month of January. They currently have the eighth spot in the Western Conference, and they’ll be looking to climb further out of the bottom of the conference.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (28-21, 15-12 away) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (25-25, 14-10 home)

When: 6:00 p.m. MST

Where: Target Center

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up in Minneapolis. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Canis Hoopus

Expected Starting Lineups:

MIN: PG Jordan McLaughlin, SG Malik Beasley, SF Anthony Edwards, PF Jarred Vanderbilt, C Karl Anthony-Towns

DEN: PG Monte Morris, SG Will Barton, SF Aaron Gordon, PF Jeff Green, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: D’Angelo Russell (shin), Patrick Beverley (ankle), Leandro Balmaro (ankle), Josh Okogie (quad), DeMarcus Cousins (foot)

Three Things to Watch

Anthony Edwards

The top pick in the 2020 draft class for Minnesota has quickly developed into one of the most exciting players in basketball, and he recently became one of just four players to score 40 or more points in four games prior to turning 21 when he hung 40 on the Portland Trail Blazers a week ago. The only other three players to accomplish that feat were LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic. When these two teams last played, Edwards had 38. Aaron Gordon would be the player to match up and try to slow him down. He couldn’t do that in the previous matchup, but can he change that tune this time around?

Bench Guards

The Nuggets’ guard rotation remains confusing to figure out. Outside of a rare night against the LA Clippers, Facundo Campazzo hadn’t played fewer than 16 minutes in a game since November, but he’s been under seven minutes in each of the past two. Davon Reed also appears to be sliding out of the rotation. With lots of guards hurt for Minnesota, Denver should have an advantage here, but there’s no way of knowing who is going to even be out there for the team right now.

Jokic vs Towns

Every time these two guys match up for the rest of their careers, it’s going to be the marquee matchup of the game. They were drafted just one year apart, and Jokic is just nine months older than Towns. Both play the same position while being more offensive-minded guys. The performance of others in the game always matters, but, generally, whoever wins this duel sees their team come out on top. That should ring true again tonight.

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