Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets
Records: Raptors (20-4); Nuggets (15-7)
Where to Watch
Date: Monday, Dec. 1
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: Sportsnet One
Radio: Sportsnet 590
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Two of the league's hottest teams square off Monday night as the Nuggets put their five-game win streak on the line against the Raptors, who have won eight consecutive games.
The recent surges from Denver and Toronto have propelled each team to the top of their respective conferences, though the Nuggets' placement at No. 1 is by virtue of a tie with the LA Clippers.
The Raptors are coming off of an 11-point road win over the Cavs despite being without All-Star guard Kyle Lowry, who was sidelined with a sore back. After missing the action Saturday, it has been announced that Kyle Lowry will be back in the lineup for Monday's showdown. In Lowry's absence, Kawhi Leonard paced the Raptors, scoring 34 points and grabbing nine rebounds in 37 minutes of action.
Leonard was one of five Raptors to finish in double figures as Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Danny Green each scored 15 points apiece while Serge Ibaka added 10 points.
By leading the Raptors to a perfect 3-0 record over the last week, Leonard was recognized as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday. He looks to continue his excellent play against Denver, who he has only lost to twice over the course of his eight-year career.
Opposite of Kawhi stands the Western Conference Player of the Week - Nuggets forward Paul Millsap. In Denver's most recent win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Millsap scored 22 points (on 9-for-16 shooting), grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out four assists and grabbed four steals.
Millsap is just one of the many offensive options the Nuggets have, as seven different players average at least 9.0 points per game. Gary Harris (17.3 ppg) and Jamal Murray (17.1) lead the way while Nikola Jokic stuffs the stat sheet on a nightly basis with averages of 16.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game. In fact, the Nuggets are 6-0 this season when Jokic finishes with nine or more assists.
In addition to Jokic's playmaking, 3-point shooting will be a major key Monday night - Denver is 11-1 when shooting a higher 3-point percentage than its opponent while the Raptors are 15-0 when they shoot better than their opponent from deep.
With the game potentially hinging upon 3-point shooting, the Nuggets' Gary Harris and the Raptors' Danny Green, who each lead their respective teams in made 3-pointers this season.
• Toronto has won three of its last four meetings with Denver and is 8-1 against Western Conference opponents this season. It's one loss came to the New Orleans Pelicans on Nov. 12.
• The Nuggets Jamal Murray (Kitchener, Ont.) and Trey Lyles (Saskatoon, Sask.) are both natives of Canada, but neither has won a regular season game in their home country - Murray is 0-2 and Lyles is 0-3.
• In Murray's most recent game in Toronto, he scored 15 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists in 40 minutes of action. Through Lyle's first three games in Toronto, he is averaging 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting at a 72.7 percent clip from beyond the arc (8-for-11).
• Kawhi Leonard holds a career record of 17-2 against the Nuggets, averaging 16.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from deep over the 19-game period.
Last Time They Played
Date: March 27, 2018
Score: Raptors 114, Nuggets 110
Raptors: Kyle Lowry - 11 points, eight assists, five rebounds, four blocks
Nuggets: Nikola Jokic - 29 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, two steals