The Rockets (22-21) are coming off a 100-94 win in Charlotte against the league's stepping stool, the Bobcats. James Harden had 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists in the victory, but shot an abysmal 5 for 20 from the field. The Rockets had been losers of their previous 7 before beating Charlotte and they will likely need a better shooting performance from Harden if they don't want to start another losing streak against Denver.
The Rockets have been up and down this season and it's no secret that they rely heavily on the production of Harden. Their other major acquisition, Jeremy Lin, will also need to perform better as he had only 4 points and 3 assists in his last game. Lin has struggled to co-exist with Harden this year as both tend to dominate the ball. For the Rockets to have success and sneak into the playoffs, they will need Lin to play more like the man he was in New York.
The Nuggets (25-18) however, should be feeling good about themselves after a big win against division rival Oklahoma City Sunday night in Denver. They received big performances from reserve Corey Brewer, with 26 points, and big men, Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos, who both chipped in double doubles.
Playing on the road is something the Nuggets must figure out as they are just 9-15 away from the Pepsi Center. In a game featuring two high scoring offenses, this game could come down to who can get stops at the end.
Denver's key to the game likely will be Andre Iguodala's ability to guard Harden. If Harden, the league's 5th leading scorer at 25.9 ppg, is held in check, the Nuggets will likely find themselves in the win column.