clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Toronto Raptors vs Denver Nuggets: Preview, TV Schedule, Injuries and more

The champs are here! Denver’s only visit to Toronto will be a tough test for a Raptors squad that’s teetering towards mediocrity.

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Toronto welcomes the defending champions to Scotiabank Arena as Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets look to continue their title defense.

Denver has won 4 of its last 5 games as they kick off a 3-games-in-4-nights pre-Christmas road trip.

The Toronto Raptors have won 3 of the last 4 home meetings with the Nuggets, although the loss is probably more memorable. Trailing 110-109 with 12 seconds remaining, Fred VanVleet missed a 3-pointer. OG Anunoby corralled the offensive rebound and tried to lay in the game-winner....only to be blocked by Jokic as time expired.

Toronto’s last game against the Nuggets was equally heartbreaking as Scottie Barnes was (questionably) ejected from the game with 28 seconds remaining and the Raptors trailing by 1.

Please, Toronto, just win (or lose) in regular fashion! My heart does not need this before the holidays!

How to Watch:

TSN at 7:30 p.m. ET


Toronto: Dennis Schroder, Pascal Siakam, O.G. Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl

Denver: Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Nikola Jokic


Toronto: Christian Koloko (respiratory; out)

Denver: Aaron Gordon (heel; probable)

The Champs are here

Over the last 10 seasons, the defending champions have only visited Scotiabank Arena 9 times. Obviously, the West teams only cross the border once a year. The Bucks and Cavaliers visited once in each of their respective seasons, while the Raptors (*single tear) never visited at all since they were in Tampa (**all the tears).

Toronto went 3-6 in those games with the victories coming against the Spurs, Warriors, and Bucks.

I’m not sure if the Raptors will have a tribute video for Jamal Murray, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise. He became the 9th Canadian to hoist the Larry OB, but arguably had the greatest impact than any of his predecessors. Neither Andrew Wiggins nor Tristan Thompson were the 2nd-best players on their respective championship rosters.

The MVP is here

The comparisons are rarely made, probably because they play different positions, but Nikola Jokic has become LeBron James-like with his continued excellence.

26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals, league leader in offensive win shares, BPM, and VORP

27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.5 steals, league leader in offensive win shares, BPM, and VORP

24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 9.8 assists, 1.3 steals, league leader in offensive win shares, BPM, and VORP

26.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 1.2 steals, league leader in offensive win shares, BPM, and VORP

The first two seasons were Nikola’s MVP campaigns. The third season was his championship (and Finals MVP) campaign. The last one is this year’s stat line. Absolutely incredible!

But check your timeline and you’re more likely to see content about the Lakers raising an in-season tournament banner, the Pistons barreling towards historic mediocrity, or whatever inappropriate thing the Timberwolves Brasil account posts next.

If we’ve learned anything from LeBron, it’s to enjoy greatness while we have it. Jokic is special!

All-Star voting is now OPEN

The number of frown-inducing, head-shaking moments for the Raptors has outnumbered the positive vibe moments (and growing). With two months' worth of trade rumours to put Raptors’ fans into further despair, All-Star weekend could be a source of joy!

All-Star voting has opened and Scottie Barnes has a real chance of making it in. He’s clearly made “the leap” as his counting stats catch up to his glowing potential. Barnes is one of five players currently averaging at least 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. Jokic is obviously one of them (and the only player from the West). Two of the other three are All-Star locks (Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo). The fifth player is Julius Randle who, along with playing in one of the NBA’s biggest markets, plays for a better team.

Is it too much to ask all of Canada to vote Barnes in as a starter? If an All-Star selection is left to the coaches, Scottie will have an uphill climb trying to surpass forwards on better teams. While you’re at it, Canada, make sure to also include Jamal Murray!

Raptors Analysis

Recap: Toronto Raptors vs Atlanta Hawks — 123-121 Raptors win a close one

Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks — Pre-Game Information

Raptors Game Previews

Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks: Preview, TV Schedule, Injuries, and More