The NBA schedules have been released and, therefore, the Nuggets’ path to the playoffs has been laid. Denver opens the year against the Clippers on the road, followed by back to back home games against the Suns and Warriors.
The Nuggets play 14 back-to-backs with a long road trip of five games from November 30th to December 8th. They play on national television 13 times. With all of this being said, let’s get into the three most crucial matchups for Denver in 2018-19.
We start with the team that ended the Nuggets’ season last year. In what was essentially a play-in game, the Timberwolves defeated the Nuggets 112-106 in overtime, ending the Nuggets’ season on the spot. In the Nuggets’ four games against the Wolves last season, they finished with a record of 1-3.
Denver will once again play their divisional rivals four times in 2019, with the first coming on November 21st in Minneapolis. Once again, the Nuggets will close their season against the Timberwolves. Hopefully this year the Nuggets will be squarely in the postseason at that point.
Gary Harris struggled in his two games against the Timberwolves last season, mustering only 10 points and 3.5 assists shooting a paltry 35% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. Jimmy Butler is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and Harris had a tough time cracking him.
Denver will need to use more motion and screen actions to get Harris going as opposed to more isolation and pick-and-roll based offense. Having one of Denver’s best offensive players going will be key for victories against Minnesota this season.
Next Up: Matchup 2