Things are not going well for Denver Nuggets. They are losers of three of their last five games and on the verge of being eliminated in the NBA Cup. In order to stay alive multiple things will have to happen but first and foremost, they must win tonight against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have all of the symptoms of a talented but young team this season. Out of their eight home games they’ve only lost one and out of their five away games they’ve won zero. Alperen Sengun continues to have a breakout season, Jalen Green continues to be a guy who can win or lose you a game with his shooting. Denver was unable to beat Houston in Houston a couple weeks ago but they’ll get their chance for revenge tonight.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (10-5) at Houston Rockets (7-6)

Where: The Toyota Center. Houston, TX.

When: 6:00 PM MST

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. Altitude TV where available (Altitude TV is available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream & Fubo TV). NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5FM. Claim to be Jean Lafitte, resurrected by the face on the UTMB wall.

Rival Blog:  The Dream Shake

The Matchup

Injury Report: Jamal Murray – out (hamstring), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee); Amen Thompson – out (ankle), Victor Oladipo – out (knee), Nate Hinton – out (G-League), Jermaine Samuels Jr. – out (G-League), Cam Whitmore – out (G-League)

The three things

The key matchup: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope vs Jalen Green

The Nuggets, and KCP in particular, kept the clamps on Green in their last meeting so no doubt he’ll be looking to get going tonight. Green can score points in volumes and though bottling him up last time didn’t get the Nuggets a victory it could be what keeps them from winning tonight. Cole Anthony, Cade Cunningham and Darius Garland all have had big nights from the guard position lately against the Nuggets. Denver needs to keep Green in check to win so look for KCP to add another bullet point to his 1st team all defense resume.

The thing to remember: For all intents and purposes this is a must win for the NBA cup

The Nuggets are 2-1 in cup play as are the New Orleans Pelicans who own the tiebreaker over Denver. A loss eliminates the Nuggets from winning their group and with the number of teams currently sitting at two wins with at least one more game to play in the Cup the chances of Denver securing a wild card birth with two wins is extremely unlikely. If Denver wants to win the NBA Cup they need to win tonight. The wild card tiebreaker is point differential so for Denver to have the best chance of making the Cup tournament they not only need to win, but winning big will go a long way to help their chances in the event New Orleans beats the Los Angeles Clippers tonight.

The thing bet: Michael Porter Jr. alternate rebound line 8+ (+130)

The Line for MPJ Rebounds tonight is 6.5 rebounds with the over at -145 which feels like free money. I’m going to head over to Draft Kings and take the alternate line at 8+ rebounds to bump that up to +130. In the last meeting with the Rockets MPJ hit ten rebounds and has hit double digits in three of his last six games. With Sengun battling Nikola Jokic on the glass all night and Aaron Gordon on Jabari Smith Jr. it opens up the opportunity for MPJ to be the difference maker on the glass tonight.

ESPN Bet is now live in Colorado and new users can make any bet and receive $250 in Bonus Bets. To get this deal you MUST use our promo code LEHIGH. Click here for the details and to sign up.