The Houston Rockets are in Colorado on Friday night for a scheduled meeting against the Denver Nuggets. Both teams are coming off a back-to-back last night. The Rockets played a hard-fought game against the Los Angeles Clippers and nearly came up with a win. However, the Clippers were able to regain their footing late and edged out the Rockets for a 109-104 loss.
That was a close call for the Clippers, who didn’t have Kawhi Leonard, but did have Paul George active. George scored 33 points to carry the load for the Clippers. It was a big effort from Kelly Olynyk, Christian Wood, and John Wall, but not enough support from the rest of the team. They combined for 74 points, while no other scorer on the Rockets got into the double digits.
The Clippers are a vastly different team without an active Leonard on the floor. That goes without much explanation. In any case, give the Rockets some credit for showing up and competing hard. They played hard to the final whistle, but a 33-24 fourth quarter ended up being their demise at home in Houston. The Rockets have to hope that they didn’t exhaust all of their energy against the Clippers, because they have another formidable foe tonight.
This isn’t a Rockets team expecting to win much, though. They are in full tank mode and fans are looking towards the draft lottery. The Rockets head into Denver with a record of 15-45 and are doing a good job of increasing their odds in the lottery. It’s all luck to win the draft lottery, but the Rocket are going to be in a good position to win the first overall pick.
The Nuggets are coming off a loss of their last night. They were flat footed in a 118-97 loss against the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center. Pathetic effort from the Nuggets, who lost against the Warriors for the second straight time this month. It isn’t like this was a look ahead spot to a good Rockets team on Saturday night. Despite the loss, the Nuggets are 4-1 in their last five games and 38-21 overall. They have a three-game advantage on the LA Lakers for fourth in the West. Head below for our free Rockets vs. Nuggets pick on April 24, 2021.
Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets NBA Betting Odds:
Rockets vs. Nuggets Prediction:
The Nuggets can’t get much worse than last night, so they have that going for them against the Rockets. They also have a matchup in this one against an opponent that they blew out of the water not too long ago. The Nuggets ran the Rockets off the floor for a 128-99 win in Houston on April 16. Nikola Jokic poured in 29 points and 16 rebounds for the Nuggets. Michael Porter Jr. chipped in with 21 points and 5 boards in the winning cause. There were six different Nuggets that got into the double digits.
If Serge Ibaka played last night, I suspect that the Clippers would have won much more comfortably. The Rockets struggle mightily against teams with a big man that can clean up the boards. They are 30th in defensive rebounding and 25th in offensive rebounding. There isn’t a big on the Rockets that is doing to be able to defend Jokic in this contest. Jokic collected 16 rebounds earlier in the month against the Rockets. Expect him to put in a similar effort for the Nuggets. He controls the paint against some of the best defenders in the NBA. Against a bad Rockets’ defense, Jokic should dominate.
The Rockets are 26th in the NBA with 114.8 points against per game. When you can’t clean up the defensive boards, that’s what is going to happen to a team. While the Nuggets’ offense looked terrible in San Francisco last night, it’s within reason to believe that they are going to respond for a big effort back home. The Nuggets are fourth with 115.2 points per game and third with a field goal percentage of 48.6%. They can also shoot the ball from deep, as they’re sixth in the NBA with a success rate of 38.2% from three.
Note that Houston has scored more than 104 points just once in their previous five outings. Through that five-game stretch, Houston has scored fewer than 100 points a game. They take on a tough Denver team that is capable of playing defense as well. The Nuggets are 10th in the NBA with 110.3 points against per game. After a really poor effort last night, and the Rockets coming off a physical contest versus the Clippers, this looks like a set up for a blowout. I like a 125-107 win for the Nuggets at home tonight.