Photo: Chris Humphreys/USA Today Sports
The Denver Nuggets are back in action as they head to Houston to take on James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
The Nuggets head to Houston looking for their fourth straight win after victories over the Thunder, Warriors, and Hornets. Denver’s had the last three days off and were able to swing a deal at yesterday’s trade deadline that net them veteran point guard Devin Harris. The Nuggets made the trade official Thursday night.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 9, 2018
Harris won’t be available for the Nuggets Friday night when they take on the Rockets and it seems as if the team is targeting for him to make his debut Saturday night against the Suns.
Devin Harris will not be with the team tonight in Houston. He’ll meet the Nuggets in Phoenix @BSNDenver
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) February 9, 2018
Harris hasn’t played since Monday night when he scored 16 points in 20 minutes of action for the Mavericks against the Clippers. The Nuggets called up Monte Morris from the G-League for reassurance the other day before the trade deadline, but still look for Will Barton to get most of the backup point guard minutes in Harris’s absence.
The Rockets have the second best record in the NBA at 40-13 and are just a half game behind the Golden State Warriors for first place in the Western Conference. Houston is 13-2 in their last 15 games and have a strong home record of 22-6. MVP hopeful James Harden will be the hardest guy for the Nuggets to slow down as he’s currently averaging 31.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 9 assists per game. Harden attempts over 20 shots a game and 10 of those come from behind the three-point line, so the Nuggets will have a tough challenge to try and shut down one of the NBA’s best players.
The Nuggets have a record of 29-25 and are sitting in the seventh spot in the Western Conference. After a Trail Blazers victory last night, the Nuggets currently trail them by a half game for the sixth spot in the conference. The next closest team to the Nuggets is the New Orleans Pelicans who are a game half game behind, and then the Clippers who are a full game behind and on the outside looking in.
With the addition of Devin Harris, the Nuggets now have a player who can run the teams second unit and allows Will Barton to go back to his sixth man scoring roll. Barton is fantastic scorer off the bench and the addition of Harris will allow him to play that role again instead of playing facilitator for the second unit. Barton is averaging 14.5 points per game this season and is second on the team in minutes per game with an average of 32.
Another storyline to watch on Friday night will be the minutes for Torrey Craig. The Nuggets were unable to clear a roster spot for Craig at Thursdays deadline and he’s nearing his 45 day limit in which the Nuggets are able to use him. Craig’s played a lot lately for the Nuggets and could potentially be tasked with guarding a lot of the Rockets scorers on Friday night.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for postgame coverage.