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Nuggets trio closer to doubtful Monday vs. Thunder [UPDATE]

Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Will Barton were all sidelined for Denver’s first game in the bubble this afternoon.

Gary Harris and Will Barton of the Denver Nuggets hug each other during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 09, 2020 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

UPDATE: Aug. 2, 1:37 p.m. Harris, Murray and Barton are considered “very questionable” to play Monday vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder, per coach Mike Malone. All three were held out of the Nuggets’ opener vs. the Heat, which got ugly fast. Without the three back court staples, Denver will struggle with depth inside the bubble. The Nuggets are in danger of dropping down in the West standings and are losing a shot at moving up to No. 2 over the Clippers.

We should see Craig, Morris and Porter continue to have bigger roles with all three sidelined. Porter was chalk bust on Saturday and Craig and Morris were the better options. The Thunder are a tough defensive team, but have winnable matchups. OKC lacks size, so we could see Bol Bol unleashed more in this game.

UPDATE: MIA-DEN Final — With no Harris, Barton or Murray, the Nuggets struggled big time in a blowout loss to the Heat. There were a few fantasy options that came through. Craig ($3,000) and Porter ($3,000) were both basement priced and ended up doing OK, with Craig being the best value option of the bunch.

Craig finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for 25.25 DKFP. Monte Morris ($3,500) had 13 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists for 22.75 DKFP. Porter had 11 points but couldn’t break 20 DKFP in the loss. He was INCREDIBLY chalky.

UPDATE: August 1, 12:15 p.m.Harris, Barton and Murray have all been ruled out vs. the Heat. So the Nuggets will have a very short bench and back court for their game against Miami, which has the Heat favored by 4 points right now.

Fantasy and betting analysis

So we went over some initial plays, but this seems like a good spot for Nikola Jokic if he’s going to run point again. A lot of the offense will run through Joker, though he may have decent ownership and could struggle if the Heat throw everyone at him. At $9K it makes it a little easier to play Jokic, that price is pretty low compared to what we saw him at during the regular season. Plus, Jokic is in better shape and should have higher usage.

Monte Morris and Torrey Craig should get a nice boost playing a lot of minutes in the back court. Both are under $4K and make for OK values early on. This also looks like a good spot to target the Heat overall. A thin bench for the Nuggets means their core starters could get big minutes. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and the Heat shooters are in good position to succeed.

As for the lines, this game has a very low O/U of 214.5. Usually I’d lean that way in a matchup like this with the Nuggets missing players, but we saw on Friday every game hit the over by a mile. We could just see both teams struggle on defense, or the Heat put up somewhere in the neighborhood of 115-120 points. If that’s the case, the over is something I’d maybe get on board with.

Denver Nuggets G Gary Harris and F Will Barton are both out for Saturday’s game vs. the Miami Heat. G Jamal Murray is questionable.

So none of these injuries are related to quarantine, which is a bit concerning for the Nuggets, who are fighting to hold onto the No. 3 seed in the West. The Nuggets also have a legit shot at moving up to No. 2 after the Los Angeles Clippers loss to the Lakers on Thursday night.

So with no Barton or Harris, we should see the big lineup for the Nuggets featuring Bol Bol and Jerami Grant with Nikola Jokic at PG against the Heat. If Murray is also out, that’s a lot of depth the Nuggets will be missing. Torrey Craig should also have a bigger role along with Troy Daniels.

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