The Denver Nuggets started off the game against the Houston Rockets rather slow and trailed by 11 points early on. However, they turned things around over the second half of the first quarter and really started to build their lead against a subpar Rockets’ squad. Denver needed a win in this game in a crowded Western Conference and the Nuggets dealing with tons of injuries and covid protocol players and coaches. Denver lost the first quarter 30-31, but they were in striking distance.
In the second quarter, Denver had completely flipped the script, and they just couldn’t be stopped on the offensive end of the floor. At one point, they were 12-of-16 from the floor and had put up 32 points. They went on to win the quarter 47-24 with a good amount of that production coming from players that are typically in reserve roles but were being forced into starter minutes due to the lack of players on the roster. Nikola Jokic was playing well, but the team wasn’t relying on just him to produce, and they were leading big at the half 77-55.
Another day, another Facu nutmeg pic.twitter.com/eDQhY2MRK3— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 2, 2022
In the second half, Denver came out slow, but the Rockets weren’t doing anything with it. After putting on a scoring clinic in the first two quarters, the two sides combined for just 41 points in the third frame, which is six fewer points than Denver had in the second quarter alone. The Nuggets were leading by 25 at the end of the third quarter, and they were going to do their best to rest their rotation players down the final stretch of the game leading 99-74.
In the final quarter, it was a lot of play by the reserves of both teams. Denver would go on to lose the quarter by 12, but it didn’t matter due to the large lead they had built through the first three quarters. Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo, who had a new career-high 22 points on the night, were the only two members of the Nuggets to play 30 or more minutes. For a team that needs every available body they can get, this was a huge win for them to do the work early and come out with a win.
Points: Nikola Jokic - 24
Assists: Facundo Campazzo - 12
Rebounds: Jokic - 11
Player of the Game: Facundo Campazzo - 22 points, 4 rebounds, 12 assists, 7-of-11 field goal, 3-of-5 3-point, 5-of-5 free throw