The ailing Denver Nuggets headed to Miami to take on the Heat. Can the Nuggets turn things around against one of the toughest home teams in the NBA?
The NBA odds are steep, so which team is the right side? Let’s break it down.
Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat
Monday, November 29, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at FTX Arena
The Denver Nuggets have been ravaged by injuries and are currently on a six-game losing streak. The Nuggets Michael Porter Jr. is out with back spasms. This leaves the offense entirely too dependent on center Nikola Jokic. Jokic missed a couple of games with a sprained wrist and is trying to battle even though he’s not a hundred percent.
Then the Nuggets lost guard PJ Dozier with an ACL tear. The Denver training staff has had its hands full as a season full of promise seems to be slipping away.
Still, the Nuggets are a force to be reckoned with. Jokic has a strong argument for the best player in the NBA, and he alone can lead his team to victory as the reigning MVP. Jokic leads the team in all “counting statistic” categories. He averages 26 point game points with almost 14 rebounds and 7 assists per game.
Monte Morris and Austin Rivers have added usage since the litany of injuries. Both players have shown flashes but are not consistent contributors. Denver will need strong play from both Morris and Rivers to stay close with the Heat and their deep backcourt.
This will be a battle of two of the slower-paced teams. The Nuggets are sixth in points allowed at 103.5 and the Heat are second in 102.5. The home-court advantage definitely favors the Heat in this matchup. The Heat are 6-1 at home while the Nuggets are 2-6 on the road.
The Heat have a much deeper roster than the Nuggets. Jimmy Butler leads the team at 23.6 points per game. Bam Adebayo is the top rebounder at 10 rebounds per game. This year’s big offseason addition Kyle Lowry has been leading the Heat offense averaging seven assists per game.
The Heat are excited over the resurgence of Tyler Herro. Herro definitely suffered a sophomore slump.
In his third season, Herro is a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, averaging close to 22.4 points per game off the bench. Herro’s catch-and-shoot skill is strong and he has added a nice ability to create his own shot in his third season, which has helped him become a versatile scorer.
PJ Tucker doesn’t add much to the box score. Tucker will not be a favorite of fantasy players but does so much on the court that does not show up in statistics. Tucker’s strong on-ball defense and veteran presence has been an underappreciated boost to this Heat roster.
Miami shoots well from three-point range and Duncan Robinson is a big reason why. Robinson is a 41% shooter from long range, so the Nuggets can’t afford to leave him alone when defending.
Bam Adebayo against Nikola Jokic. Jokic is the heart and soul of this Nuggets team. If Adebayo is able to keep Jokic in check, the Heat should cruise to victory and cover the spread. Adebayo is a quick, athletic defender but could struggle with Jokic’s size. Erik Spoelstra will have an interesting decision on how often to double team Jokic and how often to let Bam defend him one-on-one.
I would think the best strategy is to double Jokic as the injuries have depleted the level of play from his teammates he finds open. I would rather have those players beat me. If Jokic is able to have a big night he could propel the Nuggets to an unlikely road victory. If Bam is able to shut down Jokic, the Nuggets have little to no chance of victory.
I like the Miami Heat to get it done here. The Nuggets have been fighting valiantly but beating the Heat at home is too tall a task for this injured team. I expect the Heat to show their defensive chops and make life troubling for the Nuggets on the offensive end.
Even if Jokic has a big night, it’s still a lot to ask for the Nuggets supporting cast to overcome a complete team like Miami. Miami will win and win by a margin. Take the Heat for your NBA pick.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.