Monday, January 7 at 8:00 PM ET
Coverage: NBA League Pass
Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets visit James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
Nuggets are rolling behind Jokic
The Nuggets are on five, winning five straight overall and 10 in a row at home, with Nikola Jokic leading the way.
Jokic had 39 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block in 34 minutes on Saturday's 123-110 home win against the Hornets and his final stat line has only been matched once in NBA history (by Michael Jordan).
The Joker is making a strong, silent push for NBA MVP, as he's helped the Nuggets weather a rash of injuries to key players and hold steady in first place in the highly-competitive Western Conference and the return of some those players makes this team an intriguing pick on Monday.
Harden trying to do too much
James Harden had been practically unstoppable lately, scoring 30 points or more points in 11 straight games, scoring 40 or more in five straight games and recording triple-doubles in each of the last two games, but he struggled with his shot on Saturday's 110-101 road loss against the Trail Blazers.
Harden had an off night from the start, missing his first three shots and 12 of his first 15, as the Portland defense hounded and harassed him every time he touched the ball.
The reigning MVP still finished with 38 points, pushing his 30-point scoring streak to 12 games, but it took him 35 attempts, tied for his most this season and a 20-point third-quarter outburst helped his numbers look better in what was one of his worst shooting nights of the season.
His first half effort was a mess, as he made just 3 of 15 shots and missed all eight of his 3-point attempts. Harden finished the night just 13 of 35 from the field, including 5 of 17 from distance.
The Denver Nuggets are:
5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight up win of more than 10 points
5-1 ATS in their last six games playing on 1 days rest
16-5 ATS in their last 21 games following an ATS win
11-4 ATS in their last 15 games following a straight up win
9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against a team with a winning straight up record
The Houston Rockets are:
3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games against Northwest Division opponents
The surging Nuggets still have their best basketball ahead of them and the way Gary Harris and Paul Millsap played against the Hornets might mean that they could re-assume their starting roles on Monday.
Harris scored 17 points, including 3 of 8 from 3-point range, along with six rebounds and five assists, showing fearless aggression when attacking the basket and his big game helped them forget that Jamal Murray had just eight points.
Millsap also shined, finishing with 18 points and four steals and their return to form along with Jokic's recent play is why I like the Nuggets in this game.
NBA Pick: Nuggets +1 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA