National Basketball Association
Preview
Houston at Denver
When: 9:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 7, 2015
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

The Houston Rockets have a good chance to take over third place in the Western Conference standings, but they’ll need to take care of business against struggling teams like the Denver Nuggets, whom they visit Saturday night. Houston is tied for third with the Portland Trail Blazers, who suffered a significant injury when Wesley Matthews tore his Achilles tendon Thursday night. Denver has lost seven of nine and fired coach Brian Shaw this week.

Houston won back-to-back games against Denver in December, but the Rockets had Dwight Howard back then and he had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in both games. James Harden has been carrying the team since Howard went down in January with knee problems, delivering his third triple-double of the season in Friday’s 10-point win against the visiting Detroit Pistons. He seems to enjoy playing against the Nuggets as well, producing a triple-double in the first meeting this season and coming back with 41 points against Denver four days later.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ROOT Sports (Houston), Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (42-20): Houston didn’t have Terrence Jones available when they last met the Nuggets, but he has been playing lately, despite dealing with a bothersome back. He’s averaging 20.2 points and 8.8 rebounds in the last five games and has even blocked nine shots in that span. Corey Brewer gave the Rockets a nice boost off the bench Friday night, scoring 15 points after four straight games in single digits.

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (22-40): Denver didn't seem willing or able to play defense Friday night, surrendering 120 points in a nine-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs, who came in averaging 100.8. The Nuggets still seem interested in scoring, however, shooting 52.3 percent from the floor against the Spurs to hit at least half their shots for just the second time in eight games. The organization seems determined to give third-year shooting guard Will Barton a long look as he played at least 20 minutes in the past eight games.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Rockets are 5-0 this season when faced with a three-game losing streak.

2. The Nuggets are 14-7 this season when holding their opponent under 100 points.

3. Denver has lost 10 of its last 11 at home.

PREDICTION: Rockets 113, Nuggets 102
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Houston 42-20 W1 24-9 17-11 3-0 39-20 5-6 23-14
Denver 22-40 L1 13-18 9-22 0-5 22-35 5-8 14-23
Last Meeting
Houston Denver
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/17/14 HOU 115 DEN 111 115 55 41.2 111 51 40.4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 41 52.4 18
Denver W. Chandler 23 47.1 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston D. Howard 16 4 12
Denver K. Faried 11 4 7
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 10
Denver T. Lawson 16
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Houston J. Harden 1759 44.6 543
Denver T. Lawson 994 44.2 242
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Houston D. Motiejunas 407 135 272
Denver K. Faried 526 180 346
Assists Player  
Houston J. Harden 453
Denver T. Lawson 615
Quickchart Matchup
Houston Off vs  Denver Defense
103.1 Points For
104.0 Points Against
43.9 FG%
45.4 FG%
43.8 Reb
45.2 Reb
Denver Off vs  Houston Defense
99.7 Points For
99.7 Points Against
42.9 FG%
44.0 FG%
45.2 Reb
43.4 Reb