The Denver Nuggets (13-7) are back in action for their second straight game against the Houston Rockets (5-15) at home before they head back out on the road. Denver is playing just their eighth game at home, and, similarly, the Rockets have been on the road a ton to start the year with this being their 13th road game out of 21 games played. 

After a slow week where the team was hampered by injuries and ailments, the Nuggets have come back strong with three straight wins and wins in four of their last five games. They’ve also done this despite dealing with injuries to key rotation players like Michael Porter Jr., Bones Hyland and Jeff Green with the latter two both averaging around 20 minutes per game off of the bench.

For Houston, they showed some fight in Monday night’s matchup, and they were within two at the end of the first half thanks to some hot shooting. However, in the third quarter, they ran out of gas and were outscored by 13 points. This Houston team has young talent, and that’s what they’re focused on developing. From what we saw on Monday, that plan is going pretty well so far.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (13-7, 5-2 home) vs Houston Rockets (5-15, 2-10 away)

When: 7:00 p.m. MST

Where: Ball Arena

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up in Denver. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: The Dream Shake

Expected Starting Lineups:

HOU: PG Kevin Porter, SG Jalen Green, SF Eric Gordon, PF Jabari Smith, C Alperen Sengun

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Bruce Brown, PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Collin Gillespie (leg), Michael Porter Jr. (heel), Jeff Green (knee), Bones Hyland (illness), Zeke Nnaji (illness), Jae’Sean Tate (ankle)

Three Things to Watch

Non-Star Scoring

On Monday night, we finally got a glimpse of vintage Jamal Murray when he scored a season-high 31 points while shooting an impressive 11-of-17 from the floor and 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Nikola Jokic had 32 points of his own on an extremely efficient night. However, the rest of the roster struggled to put points on the board. Bruce Brown, Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope put up a combined 24 points. Easing the load on the team’s top two guys would be wise with a long season ahead.

Keep the Lid on Jalen Green

On Monday night, the Nuggets went in with a gameplan on defense that seemed relatively straightforward. They were content with letting anyone other than Jalen Green beat them. They held him to 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting, and he was just 1-of-7 from 3-point range. He did have seven assists, which was just the third time of the year where he had seven or more in a game. Keeping him in check and making the rest of the team beat you is a recipe for success.

Keep Jamal Murray Rolling

For the first time this year, we really saw that vintage Murray that we had been missing over the last 19 months. While I don’t expect to see that every night, this matchup remains one that he can exploit. Jokic has taken games where he is the facilitator more than the scorer, and this could be one of those nights where he lets Murray and the rest of the lineup score while he racks up a ton of assists.