Back-to-back home games for the Denver Nuggets against the Houston Rockets lead to back-to-back double-digit wins. The latest is a 120-100 drubbing on Wednesday night.
We told you last game the Denver Nuggets dynamic duo was back, but Wednesday the rest of the Bat Family showed up. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic were back at it going for 33 pts./14 asts/13 rebs/1 stl/1 blk combined with Blue Arrow firing up a game-high 26 points. That may not seem like much until you realize they both only played a little over 5 minutes in the 4th combined. And you don’t need the gaudy numbers from game 1 against Houston when Bruce Brown and Aaron Gordon combine for 38 points and 6-11 from three.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Slovenian Sniper Vlatko Cancar did his best Dr. J impression from the Denver Nuggets free throw line:
Cancar did more than put up a highlight dunk as he put up 13 pts and 5 rebs on 5-6 shooting while going 3-4 from deep. Fellow bench player Ish Smith had a nice contribution of 6 pts/7 asts/2 rebs. That slash from Ish isn’t his biggest contribution, it’s his leadership and control of the floor as a vet. He showed it best after the game when he apologized to Coach Malone and the starters for not being good enough to keep them on the bench in the 4th of a 20-point win. He does a great job of being a defensive pest and keeping everyone involved and energized on offense.
I want to see a bench lineup with him and Bones, I don’t think you need to pick and choose who to have on the floor. Calvin Booth is showing exactly why Minnesota was able to poach Tim Connelly. Bruce Brown has already shown to be a free-agent steal, Ish is starting to show he was more than a throw-in for the KCP deal with the Wizards. I think Ish as the backup PG and Bones as the backup SG will make a deadly second unit once this squad is fully healthy.
The Rockets’ starters were not terrible as you can see below courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:
Kevin Porter Jr. and Alperen Sengen were most impressive, not just because Porter lead his team in scoring at 23 points, or because Sengun had a double-double. But because Porter Jr. went 5-7 from three and 8-18 overall in over 32 mins on the floor. Sengun was even more efficient with 8-12 shooting. They didn’t just pad their stats in a blowout by chucking up 25+ shots.
The Rockets look to be well coached as well as they did fight hard enough at the end to force Coach Malones hand on the Denver Nuggets bench and send his starters back on the court to insure an easy victory. This forced Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon to spend more than 30 minutes on the floor, something you don’t want in a 20-point win against a rebuilding bottom-feeder. The Rockets came into Ball Arena with the worst winning percentage in the NBA. They left with it even lower, just as it should be.Embed from Getty Images
That may seem harsh for those who root for the Rockets, but when a top team in any league faces the bottom, this is what should happen. Unfortunately, for those who root for the Denver Nuggets, that’s not how it always goes. So you can forgive those of us in Nuggets Nation that began the series with bated breath after the Rockets were coming off back-to-back 120+ point outings. The Nuggets though gave yet another reason to be optimistic about what they can do in the 2022-2023 season.
@Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Dec. 2nd at 5:30 PM MST/7:30 PM EST