Take away All-Star Jamal Murray and the Nuggets (10-10) are still one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Take away Michael Porter Jr. and they take a step back, but as long as they have MVP Nikola Jokić, the Nuggets are a tough out every night and still a playoff-caliber team.
The Magic (4-18), meanwhile, find themselves at the bottom of the standings and are a young team just trying to find their footing.
How to Denver Nuggets at Orlando Magic today:
Game Date: Dec. 1, 2021
Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: NBA League Pass Channel 4
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Jokić and rookie Bones Hyland led the way for the Nuggets who got back on the winning track after losing six in a row:
This season, the Nuggets are 1-4 without Jokić in the line-up and 9-6 with him on the court. He is keeping the Nuggets in the playoff picture despite playing most of the games without Murray, who has missed every game, and budding star Porter Jr. who was having the worst start to a season in his career.
With all the injuries, the Nuggets have kept their heads above water behind the sixth-best scoring defense (103.9), avoiding fouling, the strong depth off the bench and the brilliance of Jokić on offense.
Coming off an MVP season, Jokić is 0.2 points per game off his career-high pace while averaging a career-high in rebounds (13.7), blocks plus steals (2.1), field goal percentage (59.5%) and three-point percentage (41.3%).
He has his best career defensive rating (102) and is one of the best at challenging shots at the rim.
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