John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap and the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT DENVER NUGGETS
Where: Pepsi Center
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 8 p.m. with Wizards HangTime)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
Smith may be out again
The Wizards are unlikely to have Jason Smith on board when they face the Nuggets on Monday night, as he continues to work his way back from a sprained right shoulder. Smith was injured in the season opener on Wednesday and has yet to practice since. He did conditioning drills on Saturday at Capital One Arena, but that was it.
If Smith can't go, the Wizards can again rely heavily on Kelly Oubre, Jr. in the starting lineup with Otto Porter at the four and Mike Scott coming off the bench behind them. That combination did work against the Pistons, who have a solid frontcourt, but it won't get any easier against Denver. Paul Millsap joined them in free agency and he's one of the best power forwards in the business. Plus, they have Nikola Jokic at center and he's a handful.
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No MMA with Millsap
Now that Millsap is in the Western Conference, the Wizards see him much less often and that is a real shame. He and Markieff Morris developed an excellent one-on-one rivalry last season that was highlighted by Millsap, then with the Hawks, saying the Wizards were "playing MMA" during their first round playoff series. Morris fired back by saying what would come next was "double MMA" and took other shots at him, like how the term 'stretch four' "is soft" but that it works for Millsap.
Morris remains out following the sports hernia surgery he had in September, but he can do some talking from the bench, as he said he would once he returned to the team earlier this month. Don't be surprised if Morris is a little more vocal during this game.
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Talented young trio
Millsap is the best veteran on the Nuggets, but they are building their future around three very intriguing young players. Jokic is just 22 and in their backcourt are Gary Harris (23) and Jamal Murray (20). Jokic averaged 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists last season. Harris averaged 14.9 points and shot 50.2 percent from the field as a 6-foot-4 guard. Murray put up a solid 9.9 points in 21.5 minutes as a rookie after going seventh overall in the 2016 draft.
The Nuggets are a team on the rise and offense is their calling card. Last season they were third in the NBA in points per game (111.7) yet 27th out of 30 teams in opponents points per game (111.2). They had the second-worst defensive rating in basketball. Millsap should help those numbers over time, but expect this one to be a high-scoring affair because the Wizards are also a team known more for their offense these days.
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