Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets -2.5 (Total: 205)
The Nuggets finally got their first win of the season last night, beating the hapless 0-4 Pistons 109-97. It put an end to the three-game losing streak they began the season with, but it is fair to note it is also the first game they have played at home in 2012. Losses at Miami and Philly are nothing to be embarrassed about (though the loss at Orlando wasn’t real pretty….)
Houston, meanwhile, has been the talk of the NBA – both because of their two high-profile offseason acquisitions; trading for James Harden and signing restricted free agent Jeremy Lin. Through one week, the moves look to be paying off, but of course it is still a long season. Can the backcourt of Harden and Lin continue to be among the best in all of basketball?
The biggest key tonight for Denver will be slowing down Harden, who leads the NBA with 35.3 points per game. That task will likely fall to his good friend, Andre Iguodala, who is also enjoying some new scenery this season. The two became good friends during this summer’s gold medal run in London, but that shouldn’t impede either from trying to light up the scoreboard tonight, albeit in different ways. Iguodala is one of the best defensive players in the league; Harden one of the more explosive offensive players.
Jeremy Lin has also played well thus far, averaging 15.3 ppg and 7.6 assists, and doing a great job orchestrating the Rockets offense. He will have a tough, but fairly even, matchup tonight against Ty Lawson. The two have similar offensive numbers, but Lawson is a little stronger and slightly better defender.
The Nuggets will need a more efficient offensive game from Danilo Gallinari if they are going to keep pace with the high octane Rockets. Gallinari has shot a pathetic 26% on the season and is only 19% behind the arc. If he continues to shooting in the 20’s and Lawson right around 40%, it is hard to see them being efficient enough tonight to win on the road.
The Nuggets are on the back-end of a back-to-back facing a team on the road that matches up pretty favorably. So how is this line only -2.5 in Houston’s favor?!? I’m not sure either, but I like the Rockets and am making that my official pick for tonight.
Free Pick: Houston Rockets -2.5