Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Nuggets couldn’t buy a basket in their 130-104 loss to the Houston Rockets.
Friday nights game against the Rockets was the Nuggets first game in three days and was a game in which the Nuggets were searching for their fourth straight win. The Nuggets struggled shooting all night and when you struggle to shoot against the Rockets, you have a strong chance of getting run out of the building. Three-point shooting is what separated the two teams as the Nuggets shot just 3-28 from behind the arc. The Rockets were able to shoot 19-41 from deep and shot 35 percentage points higher then the Nuggets from three.
The loss moves the Nuggets record to 29-26 and moves the Nuggets down to the eighth spot in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are now just a half game out of the ninth spot in the conference, but are still just a game and a half behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the fifth spot. The win for the Rockets moved their record to 41-13 and puts them just a half game out of the first seed in the Western Conference. The victory also gave the Rockets their seventh straight win and their 14 victory in their last 16 games.
The Nuggets starters combined to shoot just 2-18 from behind the three-point line and Nikola Jokic led all Nuggets starters in scoring with 14 points. With the Nuggets being down by as many as thirty points in the third quarter, head coach Michael Malone pulled all of his starters mid-way through the third and inserted a lineup that consisted of Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig, Trey Lyles, and Junacho Hernangomez. Those five would play the rest of the game and gave the Nuggets some really strong minutes for the final two quarters.
The play of Lyles and Morris were the only bright spots for the Nuggets in their 26 point loss to the Rockets. Lyles led all scorers with 24 points on 8-15 from the field and also had seven rebounds and four assists. Lyles was one of the biggest reasons as to how the Nuggets outscored the Rockets in the fourth quarter 34-33. Morris also played extremely well as he appeared in his second NBA game and played a career high 22 minutes. Morris scored 10 points on 4-5 shooting and got his teammates involved as well with six assists.
The rook is quick. pic.twitter.com/4pdLyZvrkw
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 10, 2018
Morris also played some pretty scrappy defense contributing three steals in the game. Chris Paul and Morris were constantly matched up against one another and Morris held his own against one of the NBA’s best point guards. Even though a lot of Morris’s minutes came in garbage time, he still showed the ability to be a strong backup point guard in the NBA. With newly acquired guard Devin Harris being out Friday night, it gave Morris a chance to play and he certainly didn’t disappoint. The Nuggets are expecting to have Harris for Saturday nights game against the Suns, but if Harris is unable to play, look for Morris to get some more minutes after a strong performance Friday night.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for tomorrow’s pregame as the Nuggets are back in action in less than 24 hours to take on the Suns in Phoenix.