Friday, January 12, 2007

Nuggets vs. Rockets Preview

(Boulder-CO) Denver is still riding this home-stand, but the wins have been scarce and elusive. Tonight they host the Yao Ming-less Rockets, but Houston is far from having a problem. Denver will have to play motivated basketball, on both ends of the floor, if they are to emerge the victors tonight.

First, let’s take a look at who will be on the floor for the visiting Rockets. Former Nugget Dikembe Mutombo will make a homecoming after moving into second place All-Time on the blocked shot list passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his last game. The Rockets will also have the tender back of Tracy McGrady to worry about. He was fouled hard against the Lakers in the Rockets’ last game and winced after missing both free-throws. He sat out the majority of the fourth quarter and it has been rumored that a back specialist might be flown in to attend to Tracy’s lumbar regions.

Aside from that, the Rockets have a very talented core of players that include Rafer “Skip to My Lou” Alston, the well-rounded Shane Battier, and journeyman Juwan Howard.

On the other hand… The Nuggets will be without the services of Earl Boykins due to yesterday’s trade and will need J.R. Smith to pick up the scoring slack tonight, and in the next three games before Carmelo returns. I’ll be looking for Camby to return to double-double form after just missing in the last game and if Reggie Evans can also hit that mark in points and rebounds I like our chances.

The wait for Carmelo to return has seemed like an eternity, but I know one way to make it seemingly pass faster; Nuggets victories! Denver is 17-16 and currently in the last spot to make the playoffs as of right now. If that doesn’t motivate the guys, I am not sure what will, but what I do know is that the Nuggets need to slide a couple of W’s in their back pocket before Carmelo gets back to alleviate some of the inevitable pressure he will put on himself when he does return as a savior for this struggling ball club. Go Nuggets, ground the Rockets!

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