Denver Nuggets vs Houston Rockets: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Denver Nuggets vs Houston Rockets

Where: Toyota Center in Houston, TX

When: Thursday, November 28th at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): NBATV, Altitude, and AT&T Sportsnet – Southwest | KKSE-FM 92.5/KKSE 950 and 790 AM

Denver Nuggets (Away)

Head Coach: Mike Malone {All-Time 208-217 | SAC, DEN}

Expected Starting Five: (G) Jamal Murray – (G) Gary Harris – (G) Will Barton – (F) Paul Millsap – (C) Nikola Jokic

The Denver Nuggets enter this match looking to overtake the Golden State Warriors for first in the Western Conference. With a record of 50-23 the Nugggets are tied for first with the Warriors, but own second due to their disadvantage in the season series. A win would bring them to the top of the conference, at least for the time being.

Once trailing by as many as four games, the Denver Nuggets have put on an impressive late season run to make it a challenge for first in the West. Denver is 8-2 in their last ten matches and own impressive clutch victories over the Pistons, Celtics, and Pacers. Houston will be the first of a short two-game road trip, before returning home.

The Denver Nuggets must be wary of the Houston Rockets. There is no containing James Harden and his scoring prowess, but keys to defeating the Rockets have been seen in limiting his supporting cast. The Denver Nuggets’ defence is impressive and can switch on most matchups. Expect them to switch heavily on most screens.

Houston Rockets (Home)

Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni {All-Time 622-498 | DEN, PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

Expected Starting Five: (G) Chris Paul – (G) James Harden – (G) Eric Gordon – (F) PJ Tucker – (C) Clint Capela

The Houston Rockets enter this game coming off of a disappointing road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. While the team as a whole performed admirably, they were unable to stop the high-powered offence of the Bucks. With a record of 47-28 the Rockets are primed to over take the Portland Trail Blazers who rest at third in the Western Conference.

Despite the Rockets’ most recent loss, they have been performing well as of late. They are 7-3 in their last ten and hold losses to only the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, and Memphis Grizzlies in a one-point overtime thriller. They face an equally motivated Denver Nuggets team this time out.

The Denver Nuggets are one of the NBA’s slower paced teams, contrary to themselves, so the Rockets must establish themselves early. The Nuggets’ ability to swing the ball is fantastic with Jokic operating from the high post, so Houston must stifle the lanes or run opponents of the line if they don’t want their defence to become compromised.

What’s At Stake?

The Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets have had a rather competitive all-time series over the span of 185 games. The lead falls to the Houston Rockets, who maintain a 99-86 record over the Denver Nuggets.

A win for the Denver Nuggets is crucial, giving them a slight edge over the Warriors for first in the West.

A win for the Houston Rockets would give them third place in the West, overtaking the Portland Trail Blazers.

Questions to answer

How do the Nuggets manage their wings?

Is the MVP award locked up for Harden?

We are going to compare the Denver Nuggets and the Houston Rockets in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Nuggets Will Have To Limit Their Wing Rotation

The Denver Nuggets have a very defined wing rotation. Between Gary Harris, Will Barton, Monte Morris, Torrey Craig, and Malik Beasley, the Nuggets know where their contributions are coming from. With Beasley out in their last game, the world got a look at what may be a shortened Nuggets lineup come playoffs. With that lineup, comes a number of concerns.

Glaringly, only 80 post-season minutes are held by a Denver Nuggets wing and that is through Will Barton. That isn’t including the sparingly used Isaiah Thomas. The general inexperience of the Denver Nuggets wings going forward is certainly going to be a concern for Mike Malone’s team. Statistically speaking, many experts suggest that the drop-off between regular season and post season isn’t that significant. But come the limitation of lineups, looks and strategies will change.

The likes of Beasley and Morris aren’t going to command the double team in the same way that Jokic does. They will likely still be feeding on the same types of opportunities in their offence. But when the going gets tough and the shots aren’t falling, shuffling the cards is rarely an acceptable strategy. The Nuggets have shortened their lineup as of late to prepare for the playoffs, but should certainly look deeper into their bench to see what parts are valuable in future issues.

Harden Is Far And Away The Most Valuable Player In The League

James Harden is the most valuable player in the NBA, bar none. That does not mean he is the best or the top performer, but the Houston Rockets would likely be wallowing in the despair of the NBA Lottery without him.

James Harden has the amazing opportunity to accumulate enough points in this season alone to top his scoring totals from his entire career in Oklahoma City. In the past, only the following players have surpassed 2800 points in one season: Wilt Chamberlain, Bob McAdoo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant. Absolute legends of the game.

When Harden faces off against the Nuggets it is almost a matter of him against the world. While he boasts All-Star teammate Chris Paul, the heady point guards value is nowhere near that of Harden on the court and any production from him is beneficial yet auxiliary. The Nuggets defence is diligent and athletic, but Harden is going for history on this night. It should be a thrilling match to watch.

Denver Nuggets Roster Notes

G Malik Beasley – 26 Mar 2019 – Out (Personal) – Beasley has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Mar 26) game.

F Michael Porter – 21 Mar 2019 – Out (Back) – Porter Jr. has been participating in light contact 3-on-3 drills in practice, but is still a long shot to return this year according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

F-C Kenneth Faried – 26 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Knee) – Faried has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Mar 26) game.

G Gerald Green – 25 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Groin) – Green has been ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Mar 26) game.

Head-to-Head: Mason Plumlee (DEN) vs Danuel House (HOU)

The Rockets and Nuggets will need some energy off the bench to turn the tide for their respective teams, both clubs know where to look. Mason Plumlee has been great off of the pine for the Nuggets while Danuel House is coming off of an impressive showing despite a loss in their last match. Both players will be X-Factors going forward.

Mason Plumlee

Center | 6-11, 235lb (211cm, 106kg) | Duke | Exp. 5 Years

7.9 PPG | 2.9 APG | 6.3 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 0.9 BPG | 1.6 TOV | .605 FG% | .250 3P%

With the speed of today’s NBA, a big man like Plumlee is very valuable. He is long, athletic, and has the awareness to be a solid defender on the perimeter and in the paint. He posted a very efficient 10 points and 12 rebounds in a 5-7 shooting effort in his last match. The Rockets are not the most stout team in the paint and thus Plumlee’s ability off the bench is invaluable.

Danuel House

Small Forward | 6-7, 220lb (201cm, 99kg) | Texas A&M | Exp. 2 Years

9.9 PPG | 0.9 APG | 3.8 RPG | 0.5 SPG | 0.3 BPG | 1.0 TOV | .474 FG% | .426 3P%

Danuel House is coming off of a solid shooting night against the Milwaukee Bucks. He was one of the few Rockets in the shooting positive, posting 15 points on 5-9 from three-point land. Not much is asked of House but his ability to stretch the defence is perfect for Houston. He is also certainly not shy, attempting 26 three’s in his past four matches. With the inconsistencies of the Rockets bench, House will need to keep his hot shooting to punish the Denver defence.

Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Houston Rockets favoured over the Denver Nuggets by 5, with an over/under of 110.