Now is not the time to panic, but there is cause for concern about this Nuggets team. Denver’s 95-94 win over the Rockets was anything but comfortable. Denver couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean the entire game from three until Gordon hit two threes in a row at the end of the fourth. They were down five until Gordon’s offensive mini explosion, but the game was still far from over. The Nuggets’ final offensive possession ended in a three-way panic as the shot clock expired, giving Houston the last chance.
Jae’Sean Tate saw a lane open with seconds remaining, but the MVP returned his shot back and blocked it when time expired. He’s not only one of the most eye-catching offensive players in the NBA, but also defensively. He’s blocked several winning shots and his defense this season has been an absolute eye-opener. He is among the league’s leaders in defensive standings this season and follows his previous MVP campaign with an even better one this season.
The Nuggets win one up close but they are far from playing their best basketball. Their three point shooting has been horrible for over a week and tonight it was about the same. Denver will need to find a quick fix as they face arguably the best team in the league as the Miami Heat arrives in town on Monday.
- Great defensive energy at the start, rotations were smooth and the assist defense was timely
- Barton carried the Denver offense early, started the game with a three and shuffled a few midrange baskets.
- MPJ continued their anemic three-point shot, missed their last 14 three-point attempts at this point
- Houston with early advantage in scoring in the paint, but Denver made up for it with quick break points
- The Rockets finished the quarter in attack mode. They were more physical, the referees let them play, giving Houston free throw opportunities to gain the advantage.
Best scores: Barton – 9, Wood – 6
Score: 27-26 Rockets
- Denver opened the quarterback with five straight failures from beyond the arc, they were 2-14 of three at that time
- Houston moved into the zone as Denver was unable to perform a jump shot, causing several Denver turnovers and increasing their lead to six
- The Nuggets’ lackluster three-point production appeared to impact their energy later in the second. The Rockets destroyed them in the paint and moved the ball significantly better than Denver
- Denver didn’t change their attacking strategy in the middle of the second, they continued to hope to be bailed out by the three-way ball but it never came in. Denver finished the halftime 2-20 to three.
- As Denver tried to end the quarterback on a different note, they started to get aggressive with the paint and it worked by cutting the lead down to one.
Top scorers: Jokic / Barton – 13, Theis – 8
Score: 47-46 Rockets
- PJ Dozier started in second half due to narrow MPJ’s lower back, Denver opens quarter again with missed three
- Monte Morris hit Denver’s first three from the start of the first, they had missed 18 in a row before that. Nuggets gain momentum to gain four-point lead
- Nuggets making a concerted effort to reach the free throw line, especially Jokic. Midway through the second quarter, Denver shot 83% from the line and Houston 50%.
- The Nuggets opened a seven-point lead with the help of assertive and energetic Nikola Jokic. He had 12 consecutive points for Denver
- The Rockets crept into the game and tied it up with constant rim penetration and threw opportunities in the corner
- Quarter ends with a deep three and at the other end the Nuggets give the Rockets an easy layup to end the quarter
Managers: Jokic – 25, Theis – 15
Score: 72-71 nuggets
- The two teams traded baskets for a few minutes until Facu reached his second three of the game. He ignited energy throughout the arena and facilitated a 9-1 score
- The Nuggets increased their lead to seven with back-to-back baskets from JaMychal Green. He positioned himself well in the paint and was physical enough to protect the defenders to gain space
- After the timeout, Houston destroyed the Nugget’s lead and tied the game with a Christian Wood dunk on Campazzo
- Austin Rivers played good minutes in the fourth quarter. He didn’t score but he gave a great defensive energy which seemed to translate into this whole group.
- The free throw shot helped Denver’s success in the third, but they did not attempt a free throw in the fourth until the 3:24 mark. Denver’s first 9-1 run was answered with an 18-6 run in Houston
- Theis hit a three to give the Rockets a 94-89 lead. He was their leading scorer the entire game and the Nuggets couldn’t match his energy consistently throughout the game.
- Gordon hit back-to-back threes in the same spot to put the Nuggets to one, 95-94
- Jokic blocked Tate’s winning layup attempt when time expired
Managers: Jokic- 28, Theis – 18
Score: 95-94 nuggets