- The Cleveland Cavaliers are 3-point home favorites over the visiting Denver Nuggets
- Nikola Jokic can become only the fourth player ever to win three consecutive NBA MVP awards
- The game tips off from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse at 7:00 pm ET on Thursday, February 23rd
Donovan Mitchell put on a show on All-Star Sunday, scoring 40 points and 10 assists in a performance that was only topped by Jayson Tatum. The 26-year-old will again need to be at his best when his Cavaliers (38-23) welcome the Denver Nuggets (41-18) to Cleveland on Thursday.
Cavaliers vs Nuggets
|Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Denver Nuggets||+3 (-110)||TBD||Ov 221.5 (-113)|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||-3 (-110)||TBD||Un 221.5 (-107)|
Can Jokic’s dominance continue?
Averaging 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists at the All-Star Break, Nikola Jokic is a heavy favorite to win his third-straight MVP award. If he finishes the season strong, the 27-year-old would join some truly elite company (Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell).
The Serbian big man registered a triple-double (28 PTS, 15 REB, 10 AST) in a 121-108 home victory over the Cavaliers just over a month ago. Fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchell did not suit up for Cleveland for that one, however. The 26-year-old is averaging a career-high 27.3 points in his first year in Ohio.
Nikola Jokic walked over to LeBron James before he even said anything 🤣pic.twitter.com/PW449Pfvsc
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) February 20, 2023
Donovan Mitchell became the first player in NBA history to finish the All-Star Game with 40 or more points and 10 or more assists. Somewhat surprisingly given the existence of LeBron James, his 40-point effort was also the most in Cavaliers history.
Mitchell can only hope his opponent on Thursday night will stay as quiet as he was on Sunday. After being the penultimate pick in the All-Star Draft amongst the starters, Jokic had a modest line (4 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB) for Team LeBron in a 184-175 loss.
Cleveland vs Denver
Denver is a 3-point home underdog in Cleveland on Thursday. The Cavaliers have the fourth-best home record (25-6) in the NBA while the Nuggets are only .500 (14-14) on the road. J. B. Bickerstaff’s young club is also 20-10-1 against the spread in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. That 66.7% home cover rate is tied with the 76ers for tops in the league.
Michael Malone’s team meanwhile is just 12-16 ATS as visitors. Denver’s bench boss made headlines on Sunday after coaching Team LeBron, calling the 2023 NBA All-Star Game “the worst basketball game ever played.”
Donovan Mitchell hitting back-to-back threes while talking to the @NBAonTNT crew is comedy 🤣
— NBA (@NBA) February 20, 2023
While the competition hasn’t exactly been impressive, the Cavaliers haven’t lost a home game in the month of February. Denver has claimed two-straight road victories, but also dropped contests in Orlando and Minnesota this month.
Most of the trends point to Cleveland covering the spread. But, with the playoffs just a couple months away, this well-rested Nuggets squad must prove it can win on the road against quality competition. We’ll take Jokic and the Nuggets to win outright with the OVER on 221.5 points.
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