The Denver Nuggets and the Houston Rockets boast two of the highest-scoring teammate tandems in the NBA. When the clubs square off in Denver on Thursday, however, the Rockets could be without one of their top offensive options.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Denver –5.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 199 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 76% of bets for this game have been placed on Denver –5.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Tracy McGrady left Houston's 97-92 loss to Orlando on Wednesday with a sore left knee. He missed nine of 10 field goal attempts while limping noticeably through the first half, and didn't come out of the locker room for the third quarter.
"Doctors, coaches and trainers saw how I was moving out there and decided to shut me down," said McGrady, Houston's leading scorer with 23.3 points per game. "Playing on one leg like that, when you're putting so much pressure on that leg, the leg that feels good, there is a chance you can injure that leg. And that basically is why they decided to take me out of the game."
It was the third time this season McGrady has left a game because of an injury. He exited a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 14 with a strained right elbow, and missed the end of a win over Philadelphia on Dec. 10 with a sprained ankle.
McGrady's status for Thursday is uncertain. Since McGrady joined the team before the 2004-05 season, the Rockets are 11-41 when the two-time scoring champ doesn't play.
Yao Ming, the other half of Houston's dynamic duo, was just 7-for-18 on Wednesday as the Rockets shot a season-low 34.1 percent from the field.
"I made some low-level mistakes," said Yao, who entered the game shooting 50.3 percent.
The Rockets (12-13) have averaged only 84.6 points and shot just 40.1 percent in losing four of their last five games. They'll try to snap out of that funk against the Nuggets (14-10), who have one of the most prolific offenses in the league thanks to Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony.
That duo is the league's highest-scoring pair of teammates in the NBA, but Iverson has been carrying most of the load lately. He's averaging 33.2 points and shooting 54.1 percent in his last six games. In that same stretch, Anthony has scored 21.5 and shot 36.4 percent.
In the Nuggets' 14 wins, Anthony has averaged 27.1 points while shooting 46.6 percent, but he has scored just 20.4 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting in the team's 10 losses. The forward was 6-for-17 from the field on Sunday when the Nuggets fell 116-105 to Portland.
"From the beginning to the end of the game they beat us up and down the court and did whatever they wanted to do on the offensive end," said Iverson, who scored 38.
While Denver's offense has been good enough to keep the Nuggets at the top of the Northwest Division, its defense has struggled, allowing 102.6 points per game. The Nuggets are 10-1 when holding opponents to 100 points or fewer, but they've allowed opponents to surpass the century mark in eight of their last 11 games.
The Nuggets have lost five of their last six games against the Rockets, including the teams' first meeting this season. Iverson and Anthony were held to 18 and 17 points, respectively, in that 109-81 defeat in Houston on Nov. 24, while McGrady had 35 and Yao added 22.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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