The Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets square off on Friday Night as two of the top stars of the NBA will be taking the floor. For the Rockets, James Harden will look too continue his recent dominate stretch on the road. Harden enters this contest scoring at least 30 points in 29 straight contests pushing his season average to 36.3 points per contests. This type of production has helped carry the Rockets to a playoff caliber team while positioning Harden for another NBA MVP award.
Meanwhile for the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic continues to play like an All-Star and an MVP candidate night in and night out. Jokic enters Friday Night’s contest averaging 20.1 points per game to go with 10.4 rebounds per contest and 7.7 assists per contest. The Nuggets big man has also delivered two triple doubles over the teams last three contests. In January, Jokic averaged 25.2 points per game to go with 11.8 rebounds and 8.2 assists.
Now these two Western Conference MVP candidates will look to square off against each other on Friday Night. In their January 7th, 2019 meeting Jokic finished with a team high 24 points with 13 rebounds and four assists. Harden scored a game high 32 points with a game high 12 assists while pitching in five rebounds.
Here are the keys to the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets contest on February 1st, 2019 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
NBA Keys to Game
Houston Rockets – Win the Rebound Battle & Connect from the Line
Despite having Chris Paul back on the floor, the Rockets failed to pick up the win in their last contests against the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite getting 37 points and 11 rebounds from Harden, the Rockets couldn’t close out a Pelicans team without star Anthony Davis. In that contest the Rockets were out rebounded 55-45 as well as missed eight free throw attempts. On Friday night the Rockets will need to win the rebounding battle and connect on a higher percentage of free throw attempts.
Denver Nuggets – Shut down Supporting Cast
Entering their Friday Night showdown everyone including the Nuggets know that Harden will get his 30 plus points. That said, the Rockets have won and loss when Harden puts up 30 plus points. In order for the team to have success the Nuggets will need to focus on limiting the scoring opportunities of the Rockets supporting cast including Chris Paul and Eric Gordon. Along with shutting down Harden’s supporting cast the Nuggets need to win the rebounding and turnover battles.
NBA Betting Trends
Houston Rockets – Entering Friday Night’s contest the Rockets continue to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference (29-21 overall) in the standings but have struggled to deliver for sports handicappers. Overall the Rockets have covered the spread in just 23 of their first 50 contests this season including covering the spread on the road in just eight of 23 road contests. Those struggles include failing to cover the spread in six of their last seven overall contests and four straight road contests.
Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets continue to play great basketball this season as they have pushed their record to 35-15 overall while cover the spread in 27 of those 50 contests. The success has shown up at home covering the spread in 18 of their last 26 contests at the Pepsi Center. Along with that success the Nuggets have covered the spread in four straight at home as well as in seven of their last ten contests on Friday Night. Despite the success the Nuggets have struggled against the Western Conference failing to cover the spread in six of their last seven matchups.
Head 2 Head – The Rockets and Nuggets will square off for the third time this on Friday Night with the Rockets picking up wins in each of the previous two meetings (won by 9 and 8 points). Along with those two losses the Rockets have won nine straight against the Nuggets including four contests in Denver. That dominance has shown up in the betting trends as well as the Rockets have covered the spread in four straight meetings in Denver and their last five overall matchups. On a side note the favorite has covered the spread in four of their last five overall meetings.