The Denver Nuggets came in tonight with just one win over the Houston Rockets in the past three seasons. The Rockets entered the eighth victory lap tonight. Despite its many years of history and recent history, the victory has ended at the Nuggets. Denver played a great defensive scheme to limit James Harden to his lowest impact since opening night. Nikola Jokic led the way to Denver, receiving the best effort from the rest of the team. Denver finds a way to take down the Rockets monkey from behind and take this 105-95.
The Nuggets opened the game with buckets on their first three possessions, to get a 7-0 lead. The Rockets reciprocated, with the help of a pair of unlucky turnovers in Denver, and took a 10-9 lead. The Rockets would score thirteen straight times before Gary Harris finally finished the race with a transitional dunk. Harden had a quick seven points, but Denver continually doubled it and forced other players to kick. That strategy worked well and the Houston offense stopped around mid-quarter. The Nuggets took a 13-0 victory and forced a Houston timeout as they increased the lead to seven. Benches started checking in after that. Westbrook finally knocked down the Rocket drought-stopping trio with just over two minutes. Harden and Westbrook accounted for almost all of Houston's points in the first, but the Nuggets had enough to stay ahead and led 27-22 after one.
The second quarter opened with an infamous fest for Denver. They went one of six to open the quarter, before Juancho Hernangomez experienced a major setback, with Mason Plumlee following him with a little bowling ball inside. Through the first part of the second quarter, Denver maintained a small lead, but missed the opportunity to control the game due to its offensive struggles. Still, the Nuggets did a good job of frustrating Harden and keeping him calm. As the other starters returned to the Nuggets offense, they paused a little, but maintained the lead. Every time Houston began to get close to tying the game, the Nuggets had an answer. Jokic was particularly successful. The rocket was causing a lot of color problems and offensive glass. Harden and Westbrook, on the other hand, have proven to be enough to get the Rockets hooked around. Harden took a step back three before halftime, and he and Westbrook combined for thirty-two first-half points, which limited the Nuggets to just three points.
The Nuggets opened half with the same strategy they had in the first one: double Harden and be happy with the rest of the Rockets open shots. Houston continued to struggle beyond the arc and the strategy continued to pay off. But the Nuggets were cold from the floor and could not extend their lead. However, the defensive effort was remarkable. Houston was completely baffled by the way Denver approached them on defense and Denver was able to use a few quick break opportunities to finally get some offensive momentum and increase the lead to eight. Neither player dominated the offense, but Denver did well. They kept the lead at exactly ten as the quarter moved toward the back half. Houston finally gained some momentum when Chris-Clemons and Harden returned to the back three and brought that lead below ten. The Denver bench managed to keep up as Westbrook and Harden closed the quarter. After three Nuggets stood up nine.
The bench brought energy to start the fourth, especially Hernangomez had another good night. Houston's energy wasn't that strong for the opening quarter. They basically made one pass and shot it, while the Naggets were relentless. However, as was the case throughout most of the night, when the Nuggets had a chance to really blow things up, the insults opened up. Still, the defense held strong and created opportunities for transition. Torrey Craig highlighted the Nuggets running with 360 strikeouts on the break and the lead was above ten. Halfway through the quarter, the Nuggets were able to leave him, but again they just couldn't put a few baskets together to get the job done. Likewise, when Houston started to stop, it got cold with insult. With just over four minutes left, "Nuggets" fourteen coach Mike D & # 39; Anthony declared that he had quit and gone to his reserves. No one scored a minute or so before Jokic was compensated, and then Isaiah Hartenstein acted stupidly and gave Craig another one and it was time for trash. The Nuggets get a big win 105-95.
Best match: Nikola Jokic vs Clint Capel
The big men tonight were at their best. Jokic was the leading force at the end of the attack for the Nuggets and could do damage both down and down the three-point line. He was very effective in shooting because the Rockets seemed pleased to have allowed him to shoot three, while also allowing him too many looks from five to ten feet away. Capela wasn’t as effective an effect, but he was an absolute monster on glass. The Nuggets doubles hit on Harden so far has taken a lot of pick-and-roll play that Capela is so good at helping him stay in the side. Still, Capela was an important factor for the Rockets.
The main thing I noticed: The Naggets got the Rockets tonight
The Nuggets had a long fight with the Rockets, but most started with James Harden. Tonight's strategy was clear: they contain Harden at all costs. Denver threw a double team after a double team at Harden, but they were smart about that. The Nuggets often waited until the shop started running before they threw a double at James. This resulted in the rocking of the rockets and leaving them stuck in no-man's land and not sure where to go next. This resulted in a bunch of turnovers and eventually one of the worse performances from Harden this season (he still got 27). Who knows if what happened tonight can be repeated, but at least one evening the Nuggets didn't look completely emptied by Houston.
Final Thought: Juancho was so good
It was a bit of a surprise when Hernangomez suddenly started rotating minutes over Malik Beasley, but the move paid dividends for the Nuggets. Once again tonight he was extraordinary with his energy. Juancho is one of those guys that works well enough that you can put it in almost any lineup. He still does all the little things, and he also reinforces when he gets a number and although the points in the box don't drive him away, his effect on the game was amazing.