Ah yes, the time-honored tradition of Houston being on a back-to-back and facing a team not on a back-to-back. The good news is that the Rockets only have two more back-to-backs before the All-Star Game.
The Denver Nuggets, somehow, are 17-16 and in fifth place in the Western Conference. I say “somehow” because the team has been missing Jamal Murray all year, and had Michael Porter Jr. and P.J. Dozier for a combined 27 games before they each went down for the season with injuries. Monte Morris, Jeff Green, Bones Hyland, and Zeke Nnaji will be out tonight due to COVID protocols, and Aaron Gordon and Austin Rivers are questionable with injuries. Vlatko Cancar is also questionable with an illness that I assume isn’t COVID-related since he doesn’t appear to be in the protocols.
Denver’s most recent game against the Golden State Warriors was postponed, but much like the Miami Heat they will be ready to face Houston. The Nuggets beat the Warriors on December 28. And before you hit back with “But Draymond Green didn’t play in that game,” read the above paragraph and remember that everyone is dealing with fluctuating roster situations. A win is a win.
Obviously, a tremendous amount of credit has to go to Nikola Jokic for keeping the Nuggets afloat. The reigning MVP would be the frontrunner for the award again if he had a “normal healthy” squad around him this season. However, the fact that he has Denver in the playoff hunt at all is remarkable and proves just how valuable he is. How often do we see good players put up a ton of stats on bad teams? All the time. So we need to celebrate when a player is putting up big stats and helping his team win at the same time.
Jokic for MVP.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest