December 1, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23), guard Patrick McCaw (0), and forward James Michael McAdoo (20) during the game at Oracle Arena. The Rockets defeated the Warriors 132-127 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets (12-7) will end their five-game West Coast road trip Friday when they take on the Denver Nuggets (7-11). Tip-off is schedule for 9:30
Where to watch– ESPN, Roots Sports, Altitude Sports
Tip Off– Friday, December 2nd, 9:30 CST
Point Guard- James Harden
Shooting Guard- Patrick Beverley
Center- Clint Capella
Power Forward-Ryan Anderson
Small Forward- Trevor Ariza
110.5 Points Per Game (3rd), 44.0 Rebounds Per Game (15th), 24.3 Assists Per Game (4th), Points Allowed 107.4 (24th)
Point Guard- Jameer Nelson
Shooting Guard- Emmanuel Mudiay
Center- Jusuf Nurkic
Power Forward-Kenneth Faried
Small Forward- Wilson Chandler
106.5 Points Per Game (9th), 50.0 Rebounds Per Game (1st), 21.8 Assists Per Game (18th), Points Allowed 108.7 (26th)
Nov 12, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) laments a foul call against the San Antonio Spurs during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Will fresh legs be enough to fetch the win?
Following their double-overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets are coming into the Denver with dead legs. Not only will they have to play with fatigue, but battle the altitude of the Mile High.
Although the Rockets are clearly the better team, it’s obvious that the rest advantage the Nuggets have may be enough to steal a win from the Rockets.
While I am sure that Houston will come out with energy, I do not see them sustaining their high power offense for 48 minutes.
What to Watch
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Clint Capela vs Jusuf Nurkic:
It’s clear the top centers in the league are Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Karl Anthony-Towns, but Clint Capela and Jusuf Nurkic are not too far off from entering this debate as well. This season, both players are having career years and possibly the front runners for the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
While Capela has done a solid job of holding his ground against some of the NBA’s best, Nurkic is a different beast. In comparison to Clint, the Denver center has a more refined post game and can step out beyond the paint to hit the open jumper. Capela must rely on his quickness to defend one of the most skilled big men in the league. Let’s hope Nurkic’s recent shooting struggles continue.
Thankfully, Coach D’Antoni understood the importance of tonight’s matchup and possibly due to the “small ball” lineups of the Warriors, Capela had limited minutes. While James Harden, Ryan Anderson, and Trevor Ariza all played over 40 minutes, Capela only saw 25 minutes of playing time in Oracle Arena.
Similar to Golden State, this game will resemble a shootout between two of the top 10 offensive teams in the league. Although the Rockets are more experienced, the Nuggets will take this one due to their defense, rebounding, and rest.
Final Score- Denver Nuggets 108, Houston Rockets 100.
Enjoy the season Red Nation and be sure to stay connected with Space City Scoop as our amazing team of writers keep you abreast of all things Houston Rockets.