Lin, Rockets get ready for Nuggets
The Nuggets are known to play quick and up tempo. That's how the Rockets want to play too.
Wednesday night will be a test for Houston to see how the extra days of practice helped as far as familiarity, a major topic of conversation after their last game Saturday against Portland.
Coaches have talked about working James Harden's skill set more into the offense, about adjusting to him and getting him adjusted to the team as well. Harden, for his part, feels more comfortable with the schemes and his teammates after the last few days in the gym and in the film room.
As for the Nuggets, they've been mentioned as an example whenever Kevin McHale talks about what he aspires his team to be more like, as far as pacing, but Jeremy Lin said on Tuesday that the strategy against Denver will be to play fast, but to slow the Nuggets down at the same time.
"I think we want to play up tempo, but we want to slow them down," he said. "That means when we get the ball, we push as fast as we can, but when they get the ball, we get back as fast as we can. And we make them run a half-court set. It's a lot easier said than done."
The Nuggets are coming off their first win of the season on Tuesday night, 109-97 over the winless Detroit Pistons. Perhaps one of the statistics that jumped out was the rebounding. The Nuggets outrebounded the Pistons 52-35, including 21 offensive rebounds. Andre Iguodala led with 10 rebounds. Four other Nuggets finished with at least five boards. Denver seems to have found their rotation in their last few games, and one player who has taken flight with more defined playing time is Kenneth Faried.
The second-year man from Morehouse State has averaged 18.5 points and 10 rebounds in the last two contests. His minutes in the last two are up substantially than the Nuggets' first two games. On the flipside, Danilo Gallinari has been struggling as he battles a sprained ankle. Gallinari has only made 11-42 shots in his three games this season, a 26.2 percent clip. In his career, that percentage is usually hovering around and above the 40 percent mark.
On paper, the Nuggets are 1-3, but their record may be deceiving. After their rotations became more set, the team very nearly knocked off the Heat last week.