The DENVER and the HOUSTON will both be gunning for a victory on 4/5/2017 at 8:05 PM when they meet in a game matchup.
DENVER vs HOUSTON
When: 4/5/2017 8:05 PM
|507||DENVER||-9 (-110)||239 (-110)||325
TV: 8:05 PM
PREDICTION: HOUSTON , DENVER
Oddsmakers currently have the HOUSTON listed as -9 point favorites versus the DENVER, while the game’s total is sitting at 239.
HOUSTON — By providing his team the day off on Tuesday, a decision that came two days after their previous game, Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni appeared to begin the process of preserving bodies in preparation for the playoffs.
When the Rockets (52-25) won in Phoenix on Sunday night, they did so without All-Star guard James Harden (illness), forward Trevor Ariza (personal) and forward Ryan Anderson (ankle). It marked the first game Harden missed for reasons other than suspension in three seasons. Ariza had played in all 76 games and was 14th in the NBA in minutes played entering Tuesday, with 2,626.
Houston also lost reserve forward Sam Dekker to a broken left hand on Sunday.
How D’Antoni handles his rotation on Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center remains to be seen.
But, with the Rockets locked into the third seed in the Western Conference, there is little incentive to put his key rotation pieces in harm’s way, given the stakes that will come with the postseason.
“We’ve got to focus in on having everyone healthy before the postseason starts,” Rockets guard Eric Gordon said.
The Rockets will face the Nuggets (37-40) for the third time since March 18, a stretch that started with consecutive victories during a home-and-home set.
Unlike Houston, the Nuggets have plenty to play for.
Denver is locked in a battle with the Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Denver is a half-game behind Portland (38-40) after a 134-131 win in New Orleans, a victory that eliminated the Pelicans from postseason contention. The Trail Blazers fell 106-87 in Utah against the Jazz on Tuesday night.
“It’s funny. A lot of people keep on counting us out,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. “We lose three in a row and a lot of people kind of give up hope. Everybody in that locker room is remaining positive, optimistic, and we’re going to play this thing out.”
The Nuggets displayed grit in recording their second consecutive road victory. Danilo Gallinari scored 28 points, hitting 5 of 10 from long range, to lead seven players in double figures.
Guard Gary Harris scored 23 points and forced two critical turnovers by Jrue Holiday in the final 15.3 seconds, and center Nikola Jokic scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
“It’s fun,” Harris said. “This is what we play the game for. We’ve just got to keep trying to pick up these wins.”
While the potential exists for the Rockets to be shorthanded with regards to their roster, the Nuggets have been emboldened by the return of two players who were sidelined when the teams met in mid-March: Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
Over his last six games, Gallinari is averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Chandler returned immediately following the back-to-back losses against the Rockets and has responded with averages of 15 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
Denver dropped behind Portland in the standings with a three-game losing skid, one that ended with a road victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday. And while Portland owns the tiebreaker, the Nuggets are back in position to earn that playoff spot.