BREAKING NEWS: Favorites Best Player NBA Finals will Clash off….

Thursday night in the Mile High City will be the second meeting of the season between the Finals favorites. In June, if the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets play one other again this season, the championship will be at stake.

The Celtics’ 11-game winning run came to an end on Tuesday as they lost the opening leg of a five-game road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That same night, the Nuggets’ six-game winning streak came to an end as they lost to the Phoenix Suns in overtime. Denver (42–20), the defending champion, is in third place in the West and has the second-highest odds to go back-to-back (+420), while Boston (48–13) has the best record in the NBA and the best odds to win it all (+210).

When these teams last faced off, the Nuggets prevailed 102–100 at TD Garden, the Celtics’ only three home losses of the season. In that game, Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray combined for 69 points, while Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, and Derrick White, the three Boston starters, ended with a combined 65 points. With a sacroiliac injury, Jaylen Brown is uncertain, as he only had 13 points that evening.

The Celtics’ road trip got off to a rocky start as they lost 105-104 against a Cavs squad missing Donovan Mitchell. For Boston, the NBA’s top offense, it was one of their lowest-scoring performances of the year as Brown and Tatum combined for 47 points on 16–41 shooting.

Cleveland defeated Boston at home by making 20 three-pointers against the league’s top three-point shooting squad. Although the C’s scored fifteen points, the three-point disparity ended up being the deciding factor in a low-scoring game.

Boston has the best road record in basketball (19–10) even after their defeat on Tuesday. On the other hand, after the 117-107 defeat to the Suns, Denver’s 24–6 record at Ball Arena is tied for the third-best record in the NBA. This season, the Nuggets have been the home team favorite in all of their games; the line against the Celtics won’t shift before tipoff. Boston has only been placed as an underdog three times this year, which is by far the fewest in the NBA.

The Phoenix club that Denver lost against on Tuesday did not have Devin Booker. But enough was accomplished by Kevin Durant, who scored 35 points and had an additional 28 from Grayson Allen, which included eight three-pointers, to defeat Jokić, the front-runner for his third MVP award this year. His meager total of 25 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists was his lowest since January.

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