It was one of the huge posters of the night. The Rockets, with eight consecutive victories, traveled to Colorado to face Nuggets who seem to have found their cruising pace. We were expecting an offensive match between two of the league's best attacks but … it will not have happened. The Nuggets win 105-95 and hold their reference match of the season.
James Harden landed tonight with the strong intention to continue the incredible series on which the Rockets have been surfing for two weeks now. But the task promised to be complicated and it was. The Nuggets have printed a defensive intensity as rarely the bearded has dealt this season. Gary Harris, well relayed by Torrey Craig, has managed to get out Ramesse from his comfort zone, a victim of more likely the best defender of the League this season on the back lines. If the bearded man gets his usual ten free throws, he will often be trapped and will come out most often the ball as he can, witness his eight losses of bullets. Only sixteen shots tempted for him tonight is the defensive performance of Mike Malone's men. Forcing Harden to drop the ball, this seems to be THE solution. Clint Capela was not often used, and despite his 21 rebounds, his sixth consecutive game to more than 20 catches, his impact was not as striking as the previous matches. Harden smothered, so it was up to good old Russell Westbrook to take the reins of the team. 25 points in the end for Brodie, but only 2 rebounds and 5 assists. Impact also limited to the number 0, especially because of his defective address, once is not customary. We saw tonight the limits of the game Rockets and it is therefore a defeat more than logical in the end.
Nuggets side, the men of Mike Malone surely delivered the reference match of their beginning of season. Limiting Rockets under 100 points is strong, very strong. It's simple, they're the only ones to have achieved this feat this season. Match reference from a collective point of view, but also for Nikola Jokic, with 27 points, 12 rebounds and a place found in the game of Denver. Beside him, Jamal Murray watered but was very precious more amazing way on the other side of the field with his six interceptions and interesting defensive sequences on the back of the Rockets. Will Barton also excelled in his role as a Swiss Army Knife and overall the Nuggets have taken advantage of Houston's ball losses with 32 points scored following the Rocket's turnovers. Fifteen more than their opponent, so we found where the difference came from the billboard. All thanks to a will like we have rarely seen in Colorado this season. For, of course, we know the defense that can offer Denver at times, but do it as well on a whole match, which is against the craziest army in the entire League, it's rather … promising for the future.
A success that will serve the Nuggets, but which will also benefit all the teams of the League. If we were members of the technical staff of an NBA team, we would hasten to check the video of this meeting, just to remember when James Harden land at home. If this defeat is not alarming for Mike D'Antoni and his players, it reveals the limits of this team. And while she will probably continue to walk on many defenses, she has just found her first master.