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Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets game preview

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

I am so incredibly tempted to type “schedule loss” and just walk away.

But we’re supposed to write 150 words. So...

In all seriousness, I think most Rockets fans wrote off both Nuggets games this season as schedule losses. Both are on the second night of back-to-backs with the Nuggets not playing the night before. On the one hand, this game specifically will be on the four-letter network so you know the young Nuggets will be up for it.

Houston, on the other hand, Houston is probably still flying into Denver as you’re reading this preview. After a 7-hour (all stats approximate) game against the Warriors last night in Oakland, the Rockets have to fly to Denver and lose an hour before taking on a team at altitude that will probably try to run them off the court. Denver actually plays at a faster pace than Houston by 2.5 possessions, so this game could ugly fast.

Michael Malone should get his team in the huddle and paraphrase the great Coach Yoast: “I don’t want them to gain...another breath. YOU RUN ALL NIGHT! If they beat you down the court I’m gonna take every last one of you out. You make sure they remember, FOREVER, the night they played the Denver Nuggets on the second night of a back-to-back after going into Oakland and beating the Warriors in double overtime!”

Seriously, NBA. You’re killing me with the West Coast start times. Ban the West Coast. No one likes them anyway. Please. For my sanity. And sleep schedule.

Do I really have to make a prediction for this game? Personally, I hope the Rockets muster enough energy to make it a close one. The Nuggets swept Houston last year and embarrassed them by 20 on their home floor on opening night. It set the tone for the entire season. Danilo Gallinari scored 50 (again, stats are wrong approximate).

But Houston is losing an hour on the flight after already leaving late. They won the most important game on this road trip (sorry Sacramento, Portland, Utah, and Denver). Finishing 3-2 sounds fine to me.

Tip-off is at 9:30pm CT on ESPN.