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Nuggets: Will Barton (groin) is out.
Spurs: Rudy Gay (wrist) is unlikely to play. Lonnie Walker IV (G League) is back with the team.
Houston Rockets (21-15) at Golden State Warriors (25-13)
Line: Warriors -8.5, O/U: 226
Rockets: 110 ppg, bottom-five defense, slowest pace in the NBA
Warriors: 116 ppg, average defense, faster than average pace
- The nightcap on TNT should be a fun one, with the red-hot Rockets flying up to the bay to face the defending champions.
- Houston has won nine of their last ten games, and on a somewhat related note, James Harden is averaging 41 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in those games.
- Chris Paul said he has no idea when he’ll be back from a hamstring injury, so it’ll be mostly on Harden to create the offense. He’ll also be missing one of his best shooters on the wing in Eric Gordon.
- Steph Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 54 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists per game in December.
Denver Nuggets (24-11) at Sacramento Kings (19-18)
Line: Nuggets -3.5, O/U 227
Nuggets: 115 ppg, top ten defense, bottom five pace.
Kings: 116 ppg, bottom-third defense, second-fastest pace
- The Nuggets are one of the best teams out west so far this season, and they’ll get better now that Paul Millsap is back healthy.
- The Kings love to run up and down the floor while Denver prefers a half court game, so whoever controls the pace of this game will likely come out on top.
- The Kings lost to Portland in overtime on New Year’s Day, giving up the first ever 20 point, 20 rebound 5×5 game to Jusuf Nurkic.
- Denver has won three straight, and seven of their last ten. They won the first matchup between these teams early in the year by a score of 126-112.
Toronto Raptors (28-11) at San Antonio Spurs (21-17)
Line: Spurs -2, O/U: 216
Spurs: 112 ppg, below average defense, slow pace
Raptors: 113 ppg, top ten defense, below average pace
- Barring an unexplained quad flare up, Kawhi Leonard will make his much-anticipated return to the place where he grew into a top five talent in the league before forcing his way out. He’s coming off a career-high 45 points against Utah.
- Gregg Popovich has said he hopes the fans will treat Leonard with kindness and respect, but that seems highly unlikely. Expect a tribute video and a loud ovation for Danny Green though.
- This is also DeMar DeRozan’s first game against the team that he loved so dearly, the place he wanted to stay for his whole career right up until they shipped him out of town.
- Rudy Gay is the Spurs’ most versatile wing scorer and defender, and he might miss this one with a sprained wrist.
- Kyle Lowry is probably out as well, meaning Leonard will be the primary ball handler.