The Denver Nuggets really helped their playoff positioning on Monday, as they went into Houston and seriously outplayed the Rockets.
The win helped the Nuggets move up to sixth place, and take a 1/2 game lead ahead on the Dallas Mavericks after the Mavericks lost to the Utah Jazz in triple-overtime.
Five different players scored in double figures for Denver, led by Arron Afflalo who scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half. Afflalo has been on a tear over the last two months, averaging more than 17 points and shooting .50 percent from the field.
- While Afflalo carried the Nuggets most of the game, it was Ty Lawson that put the final touches on the victory. He scored nine of his 25 points during the last five minutes and hit a trey in the final minute to put Denver up by four.
- Al Harrington, who struggled much of the game, scored nine points in the fourth quarter – including seven straight points to tie the game at 84 with nine minutes left in the contest.
- Once again, Corey Brewer frustrated Goran Dragic and provided the Nuggets with energy in the second half. He scored 10 points in the final quarter and finally ended his slump behind the arc by hitting a trey to tie the game at 89.
While the Nuggets put themselves in a a great place in the playoff race, the Rockets are doing the exact opposite. Houston, which was once on the verge of pushing for fifth seed in the West, are now on the outside looking in on the playoff race after dropping its past four games – including three straight at home against Phoenix, Utah and Denver.
Monday’s game was big, but not as big as the Nuggets next two. They host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday and than travel to Phoenix to face the Suns on Saturday.
The Clippers held the explosive Oklahoma City Thunder to only 25 points in the second half on Monday. They have also won their last four games and four their previous five road games. Los Angeles has also had a lot of success against the Nuggets, winning 2 of 3 against Denver and it has mainly been because of Chris Paul. Against the Nuggets, Paul is averaging 25.3 points and 8.3 assists – while shooting .593 from the field.
The Suns have dropped both of their games against the Nuggets, but both games have been in Denver. Saturday’s game is in Phoenix, where the Suns are 18-11 at home and are 11-2 since the All-Star Break.