Two of the NBA’s best small-market teams will finally get to show their stuff on the national stage this Thursday when the Denver Nuggets (41-18 SU, 32-27 ATS) host the Utah Jazz (33-26 SU, 31-26-2 ATS) on TNT. Tip-off is at 10:30 PM ET. the Nuggets are near the top of the Western Conference, while the Jazz are in sixth place at press time.
The Nuggets have made great strides over the past four years under head coach Mike Malone. They’re not as fast as other teams, but they play with effort on defense, and they have one of the league’s leading MVP candidates in center Nikola Jokic, also in his fourth year in the NBA. Jokic is putting up 23.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists per 36 minutes this season.
On Thursday, Jokic will run into Rudy Gobert, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Gobert (17.4 points, 14.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks/36) is the anchor of this Jazz ensemble, and absolutely should have been invited to the All-Star Game. Unfortunately, his team lacks overall scoring punch outside of Donovan Mitchell (24.4 points/36), leaving them in danger of missing the playoffs entirely.
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