Two of the league’s best offenses clash tonight as the Rockets (29-21, 10-13 away) and Nuggets (35-15, 22-4 home) try to out-gun one another in Denver. Tip off time for this old-fashioned shoot-out is 10:00 p.m. EST at Pepsi Center.
Scoring Hasn’t Been an Issue for Rockets and Nuggets
Both clubs have been creating plenty of buzz – and plenty of points – this season with their high-octane attacks. Denver is generating 111.5 points on 47.0% shooting from the floor and 35.4% from beyond the arc. They rank seventh in rebounds and third in assists. The Nuggets have been led this year by first-time All-Star Nikola Jokic, who is putting up 20.1 points per contest on 47.0% shooting.
Not to be outdone, Houston is averaging 112.3 points on 44.4% shooting from the floor and 34.5% from downtown. They’re 27th in rebounds and a lowly 28th in assists.
James Harden Has Been Unstoppable
The Rockets owe many of their wins this year to James Harden, who is averaging a career-high 36.3 points per contest. The six-time All-Star has scored 30 or more points in 24 straight games and is averaging a ridiculous 43.6 points per game since January 1st.
James Harden has averaged 45.3 PPG over the Rockets last 3 games.
But what’s more impressive, the last 3 games have been sealed by the MVP’s defense.
•Game-icing steal & dunk
•Forces Kawhi into tough fadeaway
•Blocks Fournier pic.twitter.com/EYlkZUcqG9
— ᴮᴮᴮ (@PlayoffLonzo) January 28, 2019
Houston Rockets vs Denver Nuggets Statistical Comparison
|113.5 (2nd)||Offensive Rating||113.2 (3rd)|
|112.3 (14th)||Points||111.5 (16th)|
|20.8 (28th)||Assists||27.2 (3rd)|
|44.4 (26th)||Field-Goal Percentage||47.0 (10th)|
|34.5 (23rd)||Three-Point Percentage||35.4 (12th)|
|+1.4 (12th)||Plus/Minus||+5.7 (4th)|
|112.0 (27th)||Defensive Rating||107.4 (9th)|
|110.9 (16th)||Points||105.8 (6th)|
|47.5 (26th)||Field-Goal Percentage||45.6 (14th)|
|33.9 (3rd)||Three-Point Percentage||34.1 (5th)|
|53.4 (30th)||Points In The Paint||48.2 (15th)|
If Houston’s offense falters, they’ll have to rely on their D to keep them in the game. That’s far from reassuring considering the Rockets are giving up 110.9 points per game and are allowing opponents to shoot a robust 47.5% from the field and 33.9% from beyond the arc. Houston is surrendering a league-worst 53.4 points per game in the paint and has really missed center Clint Capela, who is out four-to-six weeks after suffering ligament damage to his right thumb.
Rockets Have Owned the Nuggets in 2018-19
These two teams have met two times this year, with the Rockets winning on both occasions. The last time they played on January 8th, 2019, Houston won 125-113 behind 32 points from James Harden.
Mike D’Antoni on the #Rockets being 2-0 against the Nuggets this season: “I know they’re using that probably as motivation. So we’re going to get the best from them. It will be a very difficult game, which it always is in Denver.” pic.twitter.com/HZVFRqmkgG
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 31, 2019
Nuggets Are Favored to Win Tonight
Sportsbooks have us excited for this one, as they’ve set the game total at a healthy 227, with the Nuggets opening as 4.0-point favorites. Houston is 23-26-1 against the spread this season and 28-22-0 over/under, compared to 27-23-0 ATS and 25-25-0 over/under for Denver.