Two of the top teams in the Western Conference square off Wednesday when the Denver Nuggets visit the Houston Rockets. Denver has been dealing with injuries but comes into the game having won four of its last five and sits just a half-game behind the Clippers for second place in the West.
Houston is having its troubles recently, coming into this game on a four-game losing streak.
Denver continued its winning ways against Minnesota in its last game, coming away with a seven-point victory, that brought it to 17 games over .500.
Nikola Jokic continues to lead the Nuggets as players are landing left and right onto the injury report. He and Will Barton are currently the only healthy starters, but this is showing that it sure pays to have a deep roster and having players who can fill in whenever needed with the level of play not dipping too much.
Houston, on the other hand, has landed in a serious funk. It wasn’t long ago that the Rockets were 26-11 and cruising, with the talk all about how Russell Westbrook and James Harden were co-existing and leading the team to victory after victory.
Houston has now dropped to sixth in the West. While there are still 40 games to play in the season, this may be the most important game for the Rockets. Harden just shot 1-of-18 from three, and the team needs to make up ground.
In a conference crowded at the top, the Rockets may be an easy elimination in the first round without home court.
The Rockets, despite the skid, are eight-point favorites. The over/under is set at 228.5.
Denver Looks To Keep Rolling
Short-handed as the Nuggets may be, they won’t make any excuses. Michael Porter Jr. is playing some brilliant basketball off the bench, helping the team in several areas besides just scoring. His defense has been critical, along with his impressive rebounding ability.
Monte Morris is playing some good ball in his upgraded role, while Torrey Craig is back causing havoc on the opposition’s offense in his minutes. Jerami Grant can play any role, so now that he is starting, we see more chances for him to score.
The team will also be without Mason Plumlee for a few weeks, but that won’t hurt too much. When Jokic is out, the Nuggets can play Grant at the center spot, as he has experience playing it in Oklahoma City. He can handle Clint Capela.
Needing To Heat Up
Harden has some exceptional scoring performances, where he just can’t miss from anywhere. He can score 60 on any given night. He can have horrible shooting nights as he did in the Rockets last loss against Oklahoma City, a game where they blew a 21-point lead.
It marked the 12th time Houston has led by and trailed by double-digits in the same game. The Rockets are as sporadic a team as we have ever seen. That’s what happens when you rely so heavily on the three-point shot and the makes start to dry up.
The Rockets could really use a super performance from Westbrook Wednesday night. He shows no mercy on the court, and, going against Morris, he should have a lot of easy scoring chances.
Houston Snaps Out Of It
This game will boil down to the final few minutes, with the Rockets closing out the win. Bet Houston straight up or Denver +8.
Free Play: DEN +8
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