Denver, March 18 – The Denver Nuggets will host the Houston Rockets tonight in an attempt to strengthen their lead for the 8th and final spot for the 2017 NBA Playoffs. The Nuggets, winners of 4 straight coming into tonight’s game, hope to extend their lead on the Portland Trailblazers (currently leading by 2.5 games). The Nuggets will host the Rockets 2 more times after tonight’s game before the regular season ends, so this game will most likely set off a fun little rivalry. Denver will be without their two best wing players in Danilo Gallinari (KNEE) and Wilson Chandler (GROIN). Gary Harris will be tasked with containing James Harden and his get-to-the-line attack. Darrell Arthur (KNEE), arguably the Nuggets best big man defender, is doubtful for tonight’s game as per BSN Denver’s Harrison Wind.
Gallinari (knee), Chandler (groin) both ruled out Saturday vs Rockets.
Arthur (knee) doubtful.
Faried expected to play.
— Harrison Wind (@NBAWind) March 17, 2017
The Nuggets will have Kenneth Faried suit up. Faried made a return in the Nuggets lineup last game, a win vs the Los Angeles Clippers after missing the Nuggets last 9 games due to a sore back.
The Rockets seemed to have run out of fuel vs the New Orleans Pelicans last night. Houston lost the game despite a triple double effort from their superstar James Harden. Solomon Hill played a great game as he attacked the basket every chance he got. Anthony Davis was also unstoppable (as always) as he lead the team to the victory.
Scoring has come easy in Denver as the Nuggets have had the best offense in the league since inserting Nikola Jokic into the starting lineup December 15th, but what has fueled the Nuggets latest hot streak (7-3 in their last 10) is their effort and picked up intensity on the defensive end. Denver, ranked 12 in Bleacher Reports latest power rankings, have produced 15.9 percent of their points off of turnovers, which ranks top 10 in the NBA.
Before the break, Denver ranked last in the league in percentage of points scored off turnovers. The Nuggets didn’t generate many takeaways, and they did little with the ones they created, scoring only 12.1 percent of their points that way.
Since the break, the Nuggets are producing 15.9 percent of their points off turnovers, which ranks in the league’s top 10.
The hope is that the Nuggets could continue this trend, but it will be hard against the high-powered rockets.
Keys To The Game
- Containing James Harden‘s Supporting Cast: If the Nuggets hope to come out with a win tonight, they must be able to stop the Lou Williams and company. They can’t focus too much on Harden, because his supporting cast is deadly if left alone.
- Get Jokic Going Early: If Jokic could get off to a good start, which he should because the Rockets don’t have anyone who can match up well with him, the Nuggets can find themselves leading early.
- Keep Up the Defensive Intensity: The Nuggets have been forcing turnovers at an unusually high rate (for them) and they must continue to do so in order to stop the Rockets from scoring. If the Rockets are allowed a lot of shots odds are you will not outscore them.