105 : 125
The 2019-20 NBA campaign resumption continues this weekend as two surprise packages in contrasting conferences clash on Saturday evening from Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
After the Los Angeles Clippers suffered a narrow loss to their city rival Lakers, can Denver take advantage by closing the gap? Or will Miami spring a surprise on them and reassert their standing as the East’s fourth best team? Read my basketball preview, for the best betting odds ahead of this interesting H2H matchup.
Denver Nuggets vs Miami Heat preview
There were some encouraging signs, though ultimately Denver’s scrimmage schedule ended with a defeat by the Orlando Magic on July 27. Their head coach, Michael Malone, had been vocal about how his side had been essentially depleted leading up to their first regular-season game back. Fortunately, though, they have some much-needed reinforcements that should provide a boost and increase their chances of beating Miami.
Will Barton and Jamal Murray – both bonafide starters – as well as promising second-year forward Michael Porter Jr, all featured. Although the Heat have already exceeded expectations over the last twelve months, this is a tricky return to competitive action.
Key players to watch out for Nuggets: Nikola Jokic – A lot has been said about Denver’s franchise player in recent months.
From looking noticeably slimmer to testing COVID-19 positive, to being described as a turnover machine while playing point in their scrimmages, it’s been a transitional period for the Serbian star.
After being effectively isolated against Orlando, the 25-year-old needs to be assertive and make decisive decisions regardless of where he plays on Saturday. He’s not only their best player, but he’s also their most influential. They’ll struggle to earn much success if Jokic isn’t involved throughout.
Heat: Jimmy Butler – The leader had some choice words for some of his teammates after they too lost their final scrimmage earlier in the week.
An 18-point defeat by Memphis was far from flattering, with Butler telling reporters afterwards that they were punished for going through the motions.
With a tricky fixture schedule, the onus will be on Jimmy to lead by example – as he’s done admirably already this term.
He leads the team in points (20.2), assists (6.1) and steals (1.7), and the 30-year-old will look to improve his own season statistics against Denver too.
Denver Nuggets vs Miami Heat head to head
Denver are favourites to win this matchup, with a 62.8% advantage in their favour according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.
The main reasons why are simple: Jokic-Murray is a devastating tandem when they combine alongside one another.
Miami boast a promising mixture of experience and youthful exuberance but haven’t always shone against tough opposition like the Nuggets this season.
As far as H2H meetings go, they’re fairly even after 65 games. The Heat narrowly edge it 33-32, though Denver have won four of their last five matches and will expect to prevail on this occasion too.
Denver Nuggets to win
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