NBA Basketball Players at YouWager: Nuggets vs. Rockets

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Houston Rockets

Tip-off: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET

Toyota Center, Houston, TX

The Houston Rockets haven’t had a successful year thus far. Earlier this week they snapped a seven-game losing streak with a victory against the Charlotte Bobcats and were finally back on their own practice floor yesterday after playing nine of their first 12 games of 2013 away from home.

Houston (22-21) averaged 115.8 points during a five-game winning streak Dec. 31-Jan. 8. The Rockets averaged only 94.1 points in the eight games since, and lead the league in turnovers (16.5 per game) heading into Wednesday’s game versus the Denver Nuggets.

The Rockets’ coach Kevin McHale doesn’t see the offense as his team’s most evident problem at the moment. This NBA team also ranks last in points allowed (103.2 points per game), and fixing the defense is McHale’s most immediate priority.

Things will be difficult against Denver (25-18), that have averaged 104.0 points in winning four straight against Houston – three in Texas. The Nuggets are one of the NBA’s highest-scoring teams at 103.1 points per game, and is coming off a 121-118 overtime victory Sunday versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Houston hasn’t impressed YouWager fans with a lot of confidence lately. After a 117-109 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers last week, forward Chandler Parsons bluntly evaluated Houston’s defense.

After that the Rockets dropped games versus the Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves, a skid that ended in a players-only meeting over the weekend. Houston won 100-94 versus the Charlotte Bobcats by outscoring them 26-13 in the final quarter — a look at the kind of defense they need to play.

Houston has 12 games remaining before the NBA’s All-Star Weekend comes to town. The Rockets appeared to be upbeat after Tuesday’s practice, but James Harden acknowledged that the young team’s confidence was damaged by the recent slide.

Different from his days playing with the Thunder, Harden feels like everyone is looking to him for leadership.

If the Rockets want to change things around this evening, they’d do well to devise a plan to contain Ty Lawson. The Nuggets’ point guard has scored at least 20 points in all four contests during Denver’s series winning streak.