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Denver Nuggets vs Houston Rockets: Match Preview and Predictions - 31st December 2019

  • If injury status plays a factor in this contest, the Nuggets are the healthier team and are playing better basketball than the Rockets.
Jason Mills
ANALYST
Preview
Modified 31 Dec 2019, 01:51 IST

Houston Rockets v New Orleans Pelicans
Houston Rockets v New Orleans Pelicans

Match details

Fixture: Denver Nuggets vs Houston Rockets

Date & Time: Tuesday, December 31st, 2019 (7:00 PM ET)

Venue: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas                                

Last game results

Denver Nuggets (23-9): 120-115 victory over the Sacramento Kings (Sunday, December 29th, 2019)

Houston Rockets (22-11): 112-127 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans (Sunday, December 29th, 2019)

Denver Nuggets Preview

The Denver Nuggets are becoming a consistently good team. They finished last season 2nd overall in the Western Conference and are about to end 2019 in the same position. It also helps that they have a young roster virtually the same as a year ago.  

They face the Houston Rockets on New Year’s Eve on a 2-game winning streak and after beating the Sacramento Kings 120-115 on Sunday. It was a team effort with seven players scoring 10 or more points and were led by Will Barton and Michael Porter Jr.’s 19 points apiece.

Key Player: Nikola Jokic

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets
Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets

Known affectionately as “the Joker”, Nikola Jokic’s game is no laughing matter. Jokic had 17 points and eight rebounds against the Kings on Sunday. In the Nuggets previous win against the Memphis Grizzlies, Jokic produced a gem with 31 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. For the season, Jokic averages a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds while leading the Nuggets in scoring.

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Nuggets predicted lineup

Will Barton, Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Jerami Grant, Michael Porter Jr.


Houston Rockets Preview

The Houston Rockets are another team poised to repeat their regular season standing of a season ago as they could close out 2019 4th in the West. The Rockets are 2-2 in their last four games and could have a serious problem.

While they rested Russell Westbrook in Sunday’s 127-112 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans and got Eric Gordon back in the line-up, the Rockets had to do without MVP candidate James Harden who was nursing a toe injury. Clint Capela missed Sunday’s contest with a heel injury and could miss the New Year’s Eve match against the Nuggets too.

Key Player: Russell Westbrook

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

If James Harden has to miss any significant time with his toe injury, it will become Russell Westbrook’s job to keep the Houston Rockets among the top four seeds in the NBA’s Western Conference. In his first season in Houston, Westbrook is averaging 24.1 points, 7.1 assists, and 8.1 rebounds a game.

Rockets predicted lineup

Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Danuel House, Isaiah Hartenstein, P.J. Tucker


Nuggets vs Rockets Match Prediction

The Nuggets have been playing great basketball and are 9-1 in their last 10 games and have won 2 in a row. They are a deep team as head coach Mike Malone plays nine players 15 or more minutes a game and 11 players see 10 or more minutes per game.  

If the Houston Rockets' injury woes continue, Jokic could dominate this game from the post as center Clint Capela may miss the contest.

Head coach Mike D’Antoni needs to start using his bench or request general manager Daryl Morey to find him capable bench players as only eight Rockets' players see more than 15 minutes of court time. A lack of team depth may be the cause for all the Rockets injuries.

The Rockets do defend home-court well, with a record of 11-4, but their roster may be depleted against the Nuggets who have a winning record on the road at 8-5. When healthy, the Rockets are a much more potent offensive team than Denver averaging 119.1 points per game to Denver’s 108.3.

If injury status plays a factor in this contest, the Nuggets are the healthier team and are playing better basketball than the Rockets. The Nuggets should secure a victory on the road in Houston Tuesday night.

Where to watch Celtics vs Hornets?

You can stream the game live online with NBA League Pass. The game can be watched on TV on AT&T Sportsnet-South West and NBA TV.


Published 31 Dec 2019, 01:51 IST
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