Tag Archives: Denver Nuggets vs Houston Rockets Game Review

Denver Nuggets Sweep Rockets at Home

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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:

Denver Nugget Vlatko Cancar takes flight from just inside 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.

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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.

What’s Next?

@Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Dec. 2nd at 5:30 PM MST/7:30 PM EST

Denver Nuggets Clean House

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Dan and Santiago both called for a double-digit victory by the Denver Nuggets over the Houston Rockets. What they didn’t predict was a vintage Joker and Blue Arrow two-man performance.

March 30, 2021 that’s 607 days from Sunday’s game that pit the Denver Nuggets against the Houston Rockets. It’s the best of the west vs the worst. And we got to see Jamal Murray go for 30+ for the first time in 607 days. We also got to see something that took even longer at the same time, 618 days to be exact, since Joker and Blue Arrow both went for at least 30 pts. The NBA’s deadliest two-man game is back.

I and Santiago have been back and forth on when we would see this type of performance from the Nuggets franchise cornerstones. We were both wrong, but Nikola Jokic, as always, was spot on. Back in the pre-season Joker was asked when we would see the old Jamal. He said pretty plainly “I love to play with him, of course. I know he’s gonna be really bad for the next 20 games, but we’re gonna survive,” Jokic said, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

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Some tried to take it as a jab, but even Murray knew he was only being honest. After that much time away from competition you have the proverbial “rust” to knock off. Well, Sunday night showed exactly what this well oiled ore-cart could do at a mile high. Once Jokic and Murray got started down the tracks, nothing could derail them other than rest at designated stops. I said I wanted a game where the starters didn’t play in the fourth, we got exactly that. All 63 points, 14 rebs, and 13 assists by the dynamic duo came in the first three-quarters.

That left Young Justice (Ish Smith and Zeke Nnaji) coming off the bench in the fourth and closing out a double digit victory with a little flash from the backup duo themselves dishing out 25 pts/8 asts/8 rebs/2 stls/1 blk combined. Ish has been impressive in his two games back from the calf-strain that sidelined him. Blocking shots, playing sticky defense, as well as some slick passing as the backup PG in Bones Hylands absence due to a non-Covid illness. Davon Reed was another bright spot going 3-6 from deep and playing top-notch defense in 25+ mins. on the court.

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We keep talking about it, but it’s a worthy item of discussion, and that is the depth of this team. As Santiago stated, it wouldn’t be a Denver Nuggets game if there wasn’t a few names on the injury report. That was the case yet again with this one that saw Michael Porter Jr. and Jeff Green in street clothes. That has not, and seemingly will not be an excuse for this team. It’s next man up, and nobody flinches.

So down key players again, this squad responded with an oldie but a goodie that included a dominate third-quarter. This has been a bugaboo of this Denver Nuggets squad that has gotten entire segments on talk shows about it. And that is how bad this Denver Nuggets team has tended to be in the 3rd quarter of games. Houston was able to keep up in the first quarter with the Nuggets only amassing a 3-point lead 42-39. Then Houston won the 2nd quarter 29-28 despite Murray putting up over a third of his point total in the frame. I’m sure most in Denver felt a “hear-we-go-again” mentality creeping in during the halftime show.

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Then Joker exited the locker room, and he could. not. miss. Almost literally (he missed one free-throw), Jokic went 7-7 in the third including two 3-pointers for 17 of his 32 points on the night. This lead Denver to a 106-91 going into the 4th and Joker and Murray getting the rest of the night off. This was well earned and should leave them well rested for game two of this mini homestand versus the Rockets on Wednesday night.

What’s Next?

vs Houston Rockets Nov. 30 @ 7:00 PM MST/9:00 PM EST

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