Oklahoma City Thunder (6-6) @ Denver Nuggets (6-7)
Tip Off: 8pm CST
How To Watch: FSOK
This battle will be have some early seeding implications in the West. Oklahoma City (6-6) currently is hanging on to the 9th seed in the conference, while Denver (6-7) is mounted at the 11th seed. With a Denver win, they jump up to 9th in the West while Oklahoma City would fall into a tie for 10th. A Thunder win on Tuesday will boost their placement into a deadlock for the sixth seed, and once again push them about the .500 mark.
Oklahoma City has had 72 hours of rest between their last game and tonight’s, as the postponement of Sunday’s Thunder-76ers matchup gave them an extra day to catch a breather.
The Thunder will have three players listed as out for tonight:
For Horford, he has been away from the team for four days, but the reasoning well makes up for it. Horford is on paternity leave after the birth of his daughter this week.
The Nuggets will have two players listed as out for tonight:
Michael Porter Jr.
Key Matchup- Nikola Jokic vs. Isaiah Roby
Nikola Jokic has been playing at an all-time level through the first 11 games of the Nuggets’ season. The Joker’s numbers of 25.0 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 10.3 assists have put him in the exclusive 25/11/10 category, with just Oscar Robertson, who put up 30.8 points, 12.5 boards, and 11.4 assists in the 1961-62 season being with Jokic.
For Jokic, he has run the offense the entire year both finishing and distributing the ball. This extra layer of passing will give 22-year-old Roby a taste of something different, as he has mainly played back-to-basket bigs to this point.
With no question Isaiah Roby is being thrown into a difficult situation. Roby has only started two games up until this point and his third is up against the best center in the entire league. If he can stand his ground and eliminate Jokic either around the basket or from distributing, this game is a net success for Roby. Offensively, despite Roby often times being 50-pound less than his man has anchored his way around to the hoop. If Roby can get things going inside though getting guards open in the P&R or finishing it in himself the team will be in good shape.
The biggest wildcard with Roby in this game will be from downtown. Roby is shooting from deep this year on limited attempts, but this is the game to be testing our his jumper. If Jokic refuses to come up on screens, Roby will have wide-open threes all night, if he can cash in on those early, the offense will open up tenfold.
Isaiah Roby has looked like a complete gem thus far in the season and a poor performance tonight should not impact the way you look at him. Odd are based on his resume this year, he’ll put up a major test tonight.