Denver Nuggets vs. Brooklyn Nets Pick & Prediction MARCH 19th 2023

Stadium: Barclays Center Brooklyn
Logo Denver Nuggets
Logo Brooklyn Nets

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While the Brooklyn Nets are playing better of late after a rough stretch with their newcomers, they are struggling with consistently getting rebounds.

After starting a critical four-game homestand by getting outmuscled on the boards against the Sacramento Kings, the Nets hope to correct their rebounding issues Sunday afternoon when they host Nikola Jokic and the suddenly struggling Denver Nuggets.

Brooklyn (39-31) heads into Sunday averaging 40.3 rebounds per game, which is 29th in the league. The Nets have been outrebounded in three straight games and in five of their past six, including Thursday when they did not get any second-chance points and were outrebounded 57-41 in 101-96 loss to Sacramento.

Included in their rebounding woes was being unable to stop Sacramento star Domantas Sabonis from getting 21 rebounds and a double-double by halftime. Last week they eked out a 122-120 victory in Denver, when the Nets survived getting outrebounded 49-28 and allowing 20 boards to Jokic.

"The next team we've got has another guy that wants to get 20 rebounds," Brooklyn's Cameron Johnson said. "We've got to crash (the boards) and put a real emphasis."

"It can't just be two guys," said Brooklyn center Nic Claxton, whose 9.2 rebounds per game lead the team. "It needs to be a five-man effort."

Brooklyn heads into Sunday with five wins in eight games and two games behind the fifth-place New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference.

Besides the rebounding, the Nets are hoping their offense comes alive again. After averaging 115.6 points in a six-game span March 3-12, the Nets have shot 41.9 percent in losses to Oklahoma City and Sacramento.

Denver (47-24) has its playoff spot and Northwest Division title secure, but those accolades are occurring during a rough patch.

After winning 22 of 28 games from Jan. 5 to March 6, the Nuggets have dropped five of their past six games.

Denver stopped its season-worst four-game losing streak with a 119-100 victory in Detroit Thursday night but struggled down the stretch of its 116-110 loss in New York Saturday afternoon.

The Nuggets shot 51.2 percent, marking the fourth straight game they shot at least 50 percent. Denver shot 54.5 percent and scored 91 points through the first three quarters but faltered in the fourth by missing 11 of 18 shots and being held to 19 points after getting outscored 16-5 in the final minutes of the third.

"Big stretch was that end of the third quarter," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "They close on a 20-7 run, took all the momentum going into the fourth quarter, and then they close the game on a 10-2 run and we just can't turn the ball over that many times, especially in the second half, fourth quarter."

Jokic scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds but has been held under 15 boards in six of his past seven games. In the fourth quarter on Saturday, he was 2 of 6 from the field and grabbed two boards, capping a game when Denver was outrebounded 43-33.

--Field Level Media

Denver Nuggets
Brooklyn Nets

Denver Nuggets vs. Brooklyn Nets Recap MAR 19TH 2023

Nikola Jokic totaled 22 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists for his league-leading 28th triple-double as the visiting Denver Nuggets took control in the first quarter and led virtually the entire way in an 108-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Sunday afternoon in New York.

Michael Porter Jr. led all scorers with 28 points to go along with nine boards, as the Nuggets (48-24) won for the second time in seven games after taking a six-point loss to the New York Knicks Saturday afternoon. Jamal Murray added all 25 of his points in the first half as Denver shot 52.5 percent, marking the fifth straight game it shot at least 50 percent.

Jokic made 9 of 12 shots and recorded his 104th career triple-double and second in as many weeks against the Nets. A week ago in Denver, the center totaled 35 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists in a two-point loss.

Jokic, Porter and Murray were a combined 28-of-49 from the floor and also combined for 21 of Denver's 31 assists.

Mikal Bridges scored a team-high 23 points for the Nets (39-32), who dropped their third straight and fell 2 1/2 games behind the fifth-place Knicks in the Eastern Conference. Nic Claxton added 19 and Cameron Johnson contributed 14 as Brooklyn shot 46.3 percent but also missed 23 of 35 3-point tries.

Murray capped a 20-point opening quarter, when the Nuggets shot 59.1 percent, by hitting a 16-footer with 16 seconds for a 33-21 lead. After Claxton's three-point play moved the Nets within 42-38, the Nuggets outscored them 21-10 over the final 6:08 and consecutive hoops by Murray made it 63-48 at halftime.

Jokic scored Denver's final eight points of the third as they outscored the Nets 15-5 over the final five-plus minutes to seize a 91-71 lead going into the fourth.

Jokic reached his latest triple-double with 6:05 left when he passed out of a double team to Bruce Brown, who hit an easy layup for a 100-81 lead.

After the Nets ripped off a 17-2 run to get within 100-93, Murray found Porter, who hit a corner 3 when Johnson left him uncovered with 3:23 remaining. The Nets missed another chance at inching closer when Johnson missed an open 3 with 2:16, and Denver iced it when Gordon hit a layup and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a trey.

--Field Level Media