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Rockets Take on Nuggets in Houston: Game Preview

Mar 18, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots the ball over Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots the ball over Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
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After beating the Nuggets in Denver on Saturday night, the Houston Rockets will now turn around and host them at the Toyota Center tonight.

It seems like the NBA schedulers have been giving the Houston Rockets a lot of home-and-homes lately. They’ve already played the same team in twice in a row on two separate occasions this season, and that doesn’t include the situation with the Nuggets tonight. Additionally, they have a similar instance later this month when they play the Warriors twice in four days.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but playing a team in two straight games can create some hotheadedness that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Patrick Beverley fouled out during Saturday’s win in Denver, and now he’ll have a chance to get up in the grill of the same guys. James Harden also took a hard fall during the last outing and may, therefore, have bitter feelings towards Mason Plumlee.

The fact that the Rockets have so many home-and-homes could end up helping them prepare for playoffs, though. Playing a seven-game series with another team is difficult because each team has an opportunity to learn their opponents’ tendencies and take advantage of them. Houston’s strategy is fairly simple–shoot threes and layups–but Denver will go into tonight’s game well acquainted with it. If the Rockets can beat a team with such recent film to watch, it’ll increase their playoff confidence.

The main story from the first game of this home-and-home was James Harden’s triple-double. It marked his fourth in a row and second straight 40-point triple-double. It took every single one of his 40 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds to win that game because the rest of the team couldn’t hit a three to save their lives. The Rockets shot an abysmal 20% from long range that game.

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The good news about that is that it’s safe to assume that Houston’s guys won’t shoot that bad again. Even though Denver has had a chance to reaffirm their perimeter defense against the Rockets, Mike D’Antoni‘s had plenty of film to watch as well.

The Beard and gang only launched up 24 long bombs on Saturday night, a season low. Look for them to have done some game planning since then on how to get more threes in the air tonight.

On Denver’s side, they’ll want to get Nikola Jokic more floor time this go ’round. He got into foul trouble last time, so they’ll be hoping the refs are a little more kind.

There’s no reason for the Rockets to lose this game tonight. They have the obvious better team, and should be confident after Saturday night’s escape. Anything can happen on any given night in the NBA, though. No bet is ever too safe.

Next: Tackling the Two-Way Impact Argument for MVP

Tip-off is at 7pm CST and the game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports SW. Check back to Space City Scoop for some Houston Rockets post-game analysis and summary.

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