It’s likely that the Denver Nuggets’ leading scorers are thrilled to have the Houston Rockets on the schedule.
On Tuesday, not only will Denver be attempting to defeat Houston, which they will be hosting, for the tenth time in a row, but the Rockets’ defense also sprung major leaks in its first two games after the All-Star break.
In the Golden State Warriors’ 116-101 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday, Klay Thompson scored 42 points while making 12 3-pointers. Two nights later, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard scored 71 points and made 13 3-pointers in a 131-114 victory over Houston.
Lillard has the eighth-most points in NBA history. Stephen Silas, the coach of the Rockets, praised Lillard while expressing his disappointment with the outcome.
Tari Eason, a rookie from Houston, was unhappy to be a part of a defense that gave up 71 points to just one player.
With the worst record in the NBA, the Rockets have lost nine games in a row and 29 of their last 33.
Denver leads Memphis Grizzlies by 5 1/2 games and has the best record in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets have won five of their last six games and nine of their last 12, including the overtime victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, which was 134-124.
Nikola Jokic, the two-time defending MVP, had 40 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists for his 99th triple-double of his career and his 23rd this season. In an effort to join Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird as the only players to win three consecutive MVP awards, Jokic has recorded 14 triple-doubles in his last 19 games.
In 54 games, Jokic has been averaging 24.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 10.0 assists.
Jamal Murray scored 21 points and had 12 assists against the Clippers, while Michael Porter Jr. had 29 points and 11 rebounds.
The high-octane performance against Los Angeles came one game after Denver had a season-low performance against the Grizzlies on the road in a 112-94 loss.
In late November, Murray scored 28.5 points per game in consecutive victories over Houston at home. However, due to pain in his low back, he is listed as questionable for Tuesday.
Alperen Sengun, the Houston big man, recorded his first double-double since Feb. 8 against Portland with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Due to defensive issues, Sengun did not play in the Trail Blazers’ fourth quarter.
Jalen Green, the Rockets’ leading scorer (21.8 points per game), has been out of the last two games with a groin injury.
Willie Cauley-Stein, a seasoned center, is expected to sign a 10-day contract with Houston.