The Nuggets have a chance to put the somewhat embarrassing loss against the Orlando Magic behind them as they have a special MLK Day matinee in Houston.
The Rockets are more banged up than the Nuggets are as they will be playing without both Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady and according to the Rockets’ game notes Shane Battier is battling inflammation in his left foot. The Nuggets cannot take Houston lightly as they still have some jitterbug guards in Rafer Alston and Aaron Brooks who can play the drive and kick game that has frustrated the Nuggets in the past. They still have good spot up shooters in Shane Battier and former Nugget Von Wafer.
Wafer has been playing very well since being moved into the rotation on January 2nd. He scored 18 points in only 12 minutes that night and has been averaging 16.3 points per game since then. Today he will start his eighth straight game which will also be his eighth career start.
The Nuggets are going to have to close off the driving lanes and the big men will have to work on pushing Yao Ming as far away from the basket as they can. The Rockets have done a good job of slowing the Nuggets running game as Denver has put up only 13 fast break points in each of the first two games against Houston this season. Obviously, Denver will also have to work to earn good shots and not settle for the easy jumpers.
Look for Nene to bounce back from his disappointing night against Dwight Howard. The last time he was held to single digit scoring he put up huge numbers for two straight weeks.
This is the second time this season Denver is playing in an early game. The first time in New York they did not seem to be bothered by the morning start time although they did not really hit their stride until the second quarter.
This is a very winnable game for the Nuggets and hopefully they can put forth a good effort.
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