Nuggets hit the road again, visit Rockets
After a brief trip home on Tuesday, the Denver Nuggets are back on the road tonight when they take on James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
The Nuggets were the NBA's last team to play at home, but dispatched the Detroit Pistons, 109-97, last night. A well-balanced attack, led by 17 points from offseason acquisition Andre Iguodala, earned the Nuggets their first victory of the season.
"We got the monkey off our back," said point guard Ty Lawson. "Right now we're growing together, taking the bruises and the victories together. We're going to learn throughout the year and mature fast."
Tuesday's victory saw the Nuggets do a lot of things well. They made 10 3- pointers and continued a trend that saw them reach 9-0 over the last two seasons when they made that many 3s.
The Nuggets also outrebounded Detroit 52-35. They also outrebounded the Miami Heat in the game before Tuesday's and have actually won the battle on the boards in three of their first four games.
Denver has four players averaging more than six rebounds a game, but it's that consistent, varied offensive attack that has been the Nuggets' calling card in recent seasons. Six different Nuggets average double-figures in scoring, with Iguodala, Lawson and Danilo Gallinari all over 14 ppg.
It's been a tough start for the Nuggets, who many expected good things from in the 2012-13 campaign. They start the season with 17 of 23 on the road and head to Houston, where they have gone 7-14 since the 2001-02 season.
The Rockets dropped their home opener Saturday in overtime against the Portland Trail Blazers, 95-85. They won their first two on the road and Harden, acquired just before the start of the season, immediately paid dividends.
Harden, who was named the Western Conference Player of the Week last week, leads the NBA in scoring at 35.3 ppg. That is almost nine points better than Kobe Bryant, who is in second.
"I don't really put too much stress on myself," said Harden. "Making plays and trying to score the basketball, it comes naturally. I think that's just how I play."
Harden is averaging 6.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists as well.
If you thought Denver was a good rebounding team, Houston is scary. The Rockets have grabbed 58 and 56 rebounds in their last two outings and if they post 50 or more tonight, it will mark the first time since the 2002-03 season they did it three games in a row.
Denver has taken three in a row from the Rockets, but the two teams have split the last 20 meetings.