The NBA opens up another week of basketball with eight games of action on Monday night. One of the games set to tip off on January 7 is between the Denver Nuggets and the Houston Rockets. Both teams have been red hot as of late, which should lead to a great game on Monday night. The game is set to start at 8:00 PM Eastern time.
Denver has started off the season with a record of 26-11. The Nuggets are sitting on top of the Western Conference standings in first place. Denver has won five games in a row and nine of their last eleven. The Nuggets are set to play on back to back nights against the Rockets and the Miami Heat. Denver will look to start out their back to back games with a win on Monday night.
The Rockets have gone 22-16 to start out the season, which has them in fourth place of the Western Conference. Houston had a really rough start to the season, but James Harden has gotten hot as of late and it has shown in the Rockets record. Houston lost their last game, but has won eleven of their last thirteen games. The Rockets will look to take a win at home against the Nuggets on Monday night.
Monday night’s game will be the second of four matchups between the Nuggets and the Rockets. Denver and Houston will meet two more times on February 1 and March 28. These two teams are in the top half of the playoff picture right now and they are both playing extremely well as of late. I believe that Monday night’s matchup will be a tightly contested game.
Last season, the Nuggets and the Rockets met up three times. Houston had an extremely strong season, in which they secured the top spot in the Western Conference, while the Nuggets barely missed the playoffs. The Rockets went 3-0 against Denver last season. The closest matchup came in Denver, where the Nuggets only lost by four. The other two wins by Houston were by 26 points or more at home.
The first matchup of this season’s series was hosted by Denver on November 13. Monte Morris had 19 points off the bench. Gary Harris and Jamal Murray each had 15 points for the Nuggets. Clint Capela had 24 points and 9 rebounds. James Harden dropped 22 points and 11 assists. Houston’s starting lineup combined for 95 points. The Rockets were able to pull off a 109-99 win on the road.
Houston has won eight games in a row against the Nuggets. The Rockets have been hot as of late, but did lose on the road in their last game. Denver has won five games in a row and they will look for their momentum to help them take down Houston. The Rockets were able to take care of business on the road earlier in the season and now the Nuggets will look to return the favor.
Two Point Shooting
The Nuggets have been a solid team when shooting inside the arc this season. From in front of the three-point line, Denver has shot 52.1 percent for their two-point shots. The Nuggets have not been great at defending the two-point shot though. Denver has allowed opposing teams to shoot 52.7 percent from inside the arc.
While Houston has one of the league’s elite three-point shooters in James Harden, the Rockets have been doing really well shooting in front of the arc. Houston has made 54.6 percent of their two-point shots. The Rockets have not been great at defending the two point shot. Houston has allowed teams to shoot 53.8 percent from inside the arc.
Both teams have not been great at defending inside the arc, but both teams have been great at shooting the two-point ball. Combined with James Harden’s ability to shoot really well from behind the arc, I believe that the Rockets can dominate from the field. Denver’s defense will need to play tight defense if they want to keep up with Houston.
Nikola Jokic has been the top player for the Nuggets this season. Jokic is averaging 19 points, 10 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. Jamal Murray has had a solid start to the season, averaging 18.5 points and 5 assists per game. Gary Harris has averaged 16 points per game. Paul Millsap is averaging 13.5 points per game from the Power Forward spot this season.
The Rockets have been led by James Harden again this season, who is in contention for his second straight MVP trophy. Harden has averaged 34 points and 8.5 assists per game this season. Clint Capela is averaging 17 points and 13 rebounds per game from the Center position. Since Houston picked up Austin Rivers, he has averaged 13.5 points per game.
Rivers and Harden will go up against Murray and Harris on Monday night. I believe that Harden has the chance to go off for another big night. Jokic has been a big part of the Nuggets success, but he will go up against Capela who is one of the top defensive Centers in the league. The battle in the paint should play a big role in Monday night’s matchup.
Houston has done a really good job against the Nuggets as of late and I believe it will continue on Monday night. Both teams have been hit hard with injuries to this point in the season. The Rockets are at home and I believe that their shooting can give them an edge in Monday night’s matchup. Houston also has some matchups that they can take advantage of.
BetOnline has the Rockets listed as a -1 against the spread. This means that if Houston wins, the worst that can happen is a push. I believe that gives a lot of value to the Rockets, who are at home. Denver is on a winning streak and I believe that this is a prime game for it to end. I am taking Houston at home against the spread.