The heroes of our tale are back in action on the hardwood tonight, heading up a mile high to Denver to take on the red hot Nuggets.
AK outlined in his preview how well Denver has been playing lately, winning four in a row and seven of their last 10, and how they are, at least theoretically, a tough draw matchup-wise for our beloved Rockets, themselves winners of 11 straight.
The Rockets will once again be without Eric Gordon tonight, who will miss his second straight game with an illness, and Nene will also sit tonight, as the Rockets play again tomorrow. That means we’ll get our first sighting of Brandan Wright in a Rockets uniform.
Per MDA, Eric Gordon (illness) will not play tonight in Denver against the Nuggets. Nene is also out tonight, but will play tomorrow night against Utah. Brandon Wright is expected to make his Rockets debut this evening.— Craig Ackerman (@ca_rockets) February 25, 2018
With Wright and Joe Johnson now aboard, it makes these nagging, in-season issues much easier to stomach for the Rockets. Despite Gordon being a serious candidate again for Sixth Man of the Year and Nene’s importance to the roster as a veteran big, Houston shouldn’t miss a beat with these two sitting, especially in the short-term, and you can credit GM Daryl Morey for building an impressive cadre of veteran depth capable of stepping up and stepping in at a moment’s notice.
The other item to note is that this could be a potential first-round playoff matchup for the Rockets. The Nuggets currently sit tied for sixth in the West with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a half-game back of the fifth place Portland Trail Blazers, meaning there’s a wide range of finishes possible for Denver. With the Rockets likely to finish either with the first or second seed, the fates could have these teams aligned to open up the postseason.
Despite how well these teams appear to match on paper, the Rockets are 2-0 against the Nuggets this season, with both wins coming by 26 or more points, so I’d love to see another blowout win and a true psychological advantage over potential playoff opposition.