After a tough, down to the wire loss to the New Orleans Hornets last night the Denver Nuggets look to rebound against the Yao Ming led Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets come in to tonight's game with an 0-2 record and are trying to avoid their worst start since the 1999-2000 season. The last game they played on Oct. 27 was a high scoring 132-128 loss to the Golden State Warriors. The day before they lost in heartbreaking fashion on a last second three point shot by LA Lakers guard Steve Blake.
Needless to say the Rockets are looking to get off the mat against the Denver Nuggets tonight in their home opener. They will come in well rested to boot.
Rockets to the Moon
Luis Scola and Kevin Martin are both averaging 27 points a game in Houston's first two matches. We knew that Martin was going to score in bunches, but Scola scoring that much is a bit of a surprise to me. He has the ability to put up numbers but he's one of those gritty "try hard" kind of guys you want on your team...and hate to play against. Martin is continuing his good offensive play carried over from the Sacramento Kings. He of the elbow out, leg extended, run shoulder into the opponents side to draw fouls guy. You know. Irritating.
Chuck Hayes is another gritty player who, at 6'6" is often asked to sub in for Yao Ming at center. Another "try hard" kind of guy. So is forward Shane Battier the defensive specialist. I've always admired Battier's game and the effort he puts in game in game out. Also, speedy guard Aaron Brooks is always a thorn in the Nuggets side.
Then of course you have Yao Ming. He has been restricted to 24 mins a game coming off the broken bone issues in his foot. Ming rested the last Rockets game in Oakland and should be quite well rested for tonight's game. When playing his jump shooting ability and just plain SIZE helps is quite a handful.
Houston is coached by Rick Adelman, someone who traditionally gets the most out of the talent he has on a team. His early 90's Portland teams and early 00's Sacramento teams were gutty, and gave 100% most every night. I'd call Adelman a superb coach.
Rocket Engine Trouble
To combat their lack of size when Yao isn't in the game, this off season Houston signed veteran Brad Miller whom some Nuggets fans coveted this last off season. Miller has averaged 5.5 points per game in limited action, but is starting to show signs of age. Miller has taken a pounding over the years and it's starting to show.
In a move to bolster their front court the Rockets signed Erick Dampier yesterday to a one year contract. Damp's best years are well behind him, and I can't imagine that he would contribute too much to this Rockets team.
Nuggets of wisdom
The Nuggets MUST shake off last night's game as quickly as possible. Too many chances slipped away, and this team needs to learn to win on the road again. There's no better way to prove it to yourself than to win on the second night of a back to back game. When you're tired, and you need that extra energy, THAT is when the Nuggets must find it within themselves to gut a tough win out against a hostile crowd on Houston's home opener. I have faith the Nuggets have enough to do it.
This may be a game where the Nuggets need to expand their bench and play Renaldo Balkman, Gary Forbes, and yes...Melvin Ely and Anthony Carter in order to rest players enough for the fourth quarter.
Opposition's Take: The Dream Shake