Just as we all expected a few weeks before the All-Star break, the Nuggets have four more wins and lead the Rockets by a few spots in the West. This makes Wednesday night’s matchup even more interesting. Denver heads to Houston to try and extend its lead over the Rockets and catch up with the Lakers and Clippers. Denver sits tied for third in the conference, while Houston sits at sixth.

Since losing to the Cavaliers, Denver has won three of its last four, dropping one game to the Pacers. The Rockets are on a nosedive, as they’ve lost four straight and five of their last six games. James Harden and company can’t afford to drop another one, so they better bring their A-game Wednesday night.

The Rockets are favored by 8.5 points in this one, with the over/under at 229.5. Let’s take a betting preview of this game.

Diggin’ For Gold

The Nuggets have been red hot this season. No one thought they’d be bad, but how many could’ve predicted 30-13 and third in the West at this point in the season? Led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Denver doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. Jokic is averaging 19.4 points and 10 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories.

Murray has been showing why he was a high draft pick this season, putting up 17.6 points and 4.6 assists per game. Denver exemplifies the definition of team sport. It’s all five of the Nuggets players swarming you for four straight quarters. Fighting for every rebound and often winning the turnover battle.

Houston, We Have a Problem

The Rockets would like to forget these past few weeks, losing to teams they should beat with ease. Houston averages over 118 points per game, but that’s been cut down to around 109 in its last four. That’s not great when your defense is giving up nearly 118 over the last four.

Houston needs to improve the 15 turnovers per game it is committing. The Rockets rank 15th in the league in turnovers per game.

Harden and Russell Westbrook have been an interesting duo since being reunited, to say the least. Harden is averaging an astounding 36.9 points per game while putting up 7.4 assists. Westbrook is putting up 25.3 points and 7.3 assists, also adding over seven boards per game to the mix. And of course, that Westbrook tenacity.

More Than Expected

The 8.5-point spread is surprising to me. Even with the Rockets at home, Denver has just looked like the better team the past few weeks. Houston may have the talent, but it’s been Denver with the heart and soul to win close games. Wednesday night should give us an idea of just how good Denver can be down the stretch.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. And for more from around the NBA, go to our NBA public consensus page.

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