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Preview: The well rested Nuggets head down Houston to face Rockets

The Nuggets head into Houston well rested and looking to continue their recent uptick. Houston has owned the Nuggets this season and this is the last chance for Denver to steal a victory from the Rockets.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Game 69: 2014-15 NBA Season

Denver Nuggets logo


Houston Rockets logo

26-42 (10-23 on road)
Series 3-0 Rockets
45-22 (25-9 at home)
March 19th, 2015
Toyota Center - Houston, TX
6:00 PM MT
Altitude / 104.3 FM

Ty Lawson PG Patrick Beverley
Randy Foye SG James Harden
Wilson Chandler SF Trevor Ariza
Danilo Gallinari
PF Terrence Jones
Kenneth Faried C Donatas Montiejunas
Denver Stiffs Blogs The Dream Shake



Patrick Beverley - Questionable (Elbow), Jason Terry - Questionable (Hamstring), Dwight Howard - Out (Knee), Kosta Papanikolaou - Out (Ankle)

Denver is in the middle of a 5-game road trip but has not played since Monday night in Memphis. Etc... Montiejunas, whose career high is 26, has averaged 20.3 ppg in 3 games against the Nuggets this season.

Coming off of two days rest and after sitting three starters under questionable circumstances on Monday night, the Denver Nuggets should arrive in Houston fairly fresh and prepared to compete with one of the Western Conference's best teams.  The Rockets have had the Nuggets' number this season, winning all three previous matches including one against the new look Nuggets in Denver just two weeks ago.  The Rockets pose a very tough matchup for Nuggets, especially on the low block. Donatas Montiejunas in particular seems to enjoy matching up with the Nuggets. He is averaging 20.3 points in three games against the Nuggets including scoring what was then a career high 25 points in their first matchup last December.


One storyline for tonight's matchup will be how the team responds after the team's somewhat controversial decision to rest Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler on Monday.  The players and coaching staff indicated before Monday's game that the call to rest certain players came from above, either from ownership or management. Several players expressed frustration with the call indicating a schism between the goals of the front office and the locker room.  The controversy came on the heels of a four-game win streak and the most impressive stretch of basketball that the team had played all season.

The players that were active for Monday's game certainly brought their A-game but it will be very interesting to see how the team competes now that the dust on rest-gate has settled.  Will they pick up where they left off, showing heart and effort that last week led them to defeat the two best teams in the league?  Or will the good vibes that permeated the locker room since Brian Shaw was fired finally being to wane?  The Rockets are an extremely talented team and their penchant for drawing fouls make them among the most frustrating teams to match up against. I imagine the Nuggets will face adversity early and often in this one and we'll know right away wether they have maintained their new found competitive spirit.

Double High

Melvin Hunt hasn't had the benefit of a training camp or even extended practice time yet he has still managed to install a few new sets into the offense.  One set in particular is a Double High screen that the team has been going to somewhat frequently.  The set is fairly simple. Two bigs cross screen for each other before both attacking the defender guarding the point guard.  The guard attacks the screens and from there there are several options.

In the clip below, you can see a few different looks out of the set. On one occasion I recall hearing Hunt scream, "Roll hard!" to one of the big men, indicated that even if the play wasn't open he wanted the roll guy to go hard toward the basket to force the defense to react.  I like this set a lot with Faried and Gallo together since Gallo's shooting opens up the lane for Faried to attack the basket on the roll. The set is much less effective when the two big men that set the screen are poor outside shooters.  Readers may recall that in an article earlier in the season I mentioned loving the rare occasions that Shaw would use double high and double drag screens and wished he used them more frequently.  It's nice to see Melvin Hunt making them a large part of the Nuggets playbook.

Injury / Rest update:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="">#Nuggets</a> coach Melvin Hunt on if he expects to have a full roster vs. Houston: &quot;Yes sir. I&#39;m ready to roll. The guys are ready to roll.&quot;</p>&mdash; Chris Dempsey (@dempseypost) <a href="">March 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Hunt: &quot;It&#39;s tough on fans... But at the end of the day we have to make decisions that are going to be best for our organization.&quot; <a href="">#Nuggets</a></p>&mdash; Chris Dempsey (@dempseypost) <a href="">March 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Hunt, on who is making the decision to rest players: &quot;Our organization is making that decision. We&#39;re all in concert...&quot;</p>&mdash; Chris Dempsey (@dempseypost) <a href="">March 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Hunt: &quot;We&#39;re all in it, we&#39;re all consulted. We all talk. We, the Denver Nuggets are making the decision.&quot; <a href="">#Nuggets</a></p>&mdash; Chris Dempsey (@dempseypost) <a href="">March 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

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