The Houston Rockets and red-hot guard James Harden face a big road test against the Denver Nuggets and their 22-4 home record Friday night. While the Nuggets have homecourt advantage in this game, they’re a bit shorthanded as both Jamal Murray and Gary Harris will sit this one out due to injuries.
Murray is battling an ankle injury and this will mark his fourth consecutive game on the sidelines. For Harris, this is the first game in the past seven that he’s missed, but he’s also dealt with groin injuries over the past month or so. Fortunately, the Nuggets have a solid amount of depth and have two players set to fill in who see decent minutes on a regular basis in Monte Morris and Malik Beasley.
Denver enters this game with a 35-15 record while the Rockets are 29-21 and will be without one of their few healthy big men Friday in Nene Hilario. With that said, let’s take a look at the rosters and starting lineups for these two teams.
Rockets Roster & Starting Lineup
|Center||Kenneth Faried||Marquese Chriss||Isaiah Hartenstein|
|Power Forward||P.J. Tucker||Gary Clark|
|Small Forward||Eric Gordon||James Ennis|
|Shooting Guard||James Harden||Gerald Green||Brandon Knight|
|Point Guard||Chris Paul||Austin Rivers|
The Rockets have been fueled by the play of Harden over the past month or so, as he’s topped 35 or more points in 11 consecutive games and 21 of the last 22. On the season, Harden is averaging an incredible 36.3 points, 8.1 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game. His numbers during the month of January were simply out of this world, as he racked up averages of 43.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists over 38.8 minutes per game.
Although the Rockets have both Chris Paul and Eric Gordon back in the lineup, they’re still without center Clint Capela through the All-Star break. The team signed Kenneth Faried after he was bought out of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, and it’s been a great move thus far. Faried has logged 30-plus minutes in the past three games while posting a double-double on each occasion.
Nuggets Roster & Starting Lineup
|Center||Nikola Jokic||Mason Plumlee|
|Power Forward||Paul Millsap||Juancho Hernangomez||Tyler Lydon|
|Small Forward||Will Barton||Trey Lyles|
|Shooting Guard||Malik Beasley||Torrey Craig|
|Point Guard||Monte Morris||Brandon Goodwin|
While Murray has remained out, the Nuggets other guards have done a nice job stepping up and filling in. Last game it was Morris who had a big showing, scoring 20 points with seven assists and seven rebounds in 40 minutes. Will Barton has picked up some additional point guard duties in the process as well to fill the void.
Beasley has improved his game throughout the year and had a strong January while seeing an expanded workload. He filled in for Harris during previous games missed due to injury and averaged 14.2 points on 55 percent shooting through the month. Beasley also averaged 28.2 minutes per game as well over that span.