Nuggets vs. Rockets: Play-by-play, highlights and reactions


The Denver Nuggets (17-16) play against the Houston Rockets (26-26) at Toyota Center

Game Time: 8:00 PM EST on Saturday January 1, 2022

Denver Nuggets 18, Houston Rockets 26 (Q1 02:50)

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
Nwaba posters Jokic. Not sure I have typed that before. – 8:30 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Denver is letting the Rockets dictate the pace of the game and getting ran on over and over again. Nuggets need to slow things down. – 8:30 PM
Salman Ali @SalmanAliNBA
David Nwaba is going to be a much more useful player for Houston after they find a trade suitor for Eric Gordon. – 8:29 PM
Cayleigh Griffin @cayleighgriffin
NWABA REVERSE OVER JOKIC 😱 – 8:29 PM
Adam Wexler @AdamJWexler
#Rockets Christian Wood set to check in at the next timeout,. – 8:29 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Christian Wood is about to check in – 8:29 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
Christian Wood checking in at the next dead ball. – 8:29 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nuggets second sub off the bench tonight in Houston: 10-day player Rayjon Tucker who’s making his Nuggets debut. – 8:27 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Davon Reed commits 3 fouls in 55 seconds which is exactly what you want to see for a shorthanded team. – 8:26 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Here’s the debut: Rayjon Tucker coming in for Davon Reed. – 8:25 PM
Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets
Jalen’s too 𝑸𝒖𝒊𝒄𝒌. ⚡ pic.twitter.com/1FOuhmDIXN8:23 PM

Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
As mention in this morning’s scouting report houstonchronicle.com/texas-sports-n… via @houstonchron teams coming off layoff often shoot poorly early. Nuggets 1 of 8 to start, 1 of 6 on 3s. Unlike in Milwaukee when Bucks misfired early, Rockets build a quick cushion, up 13-4 in 4 1/2 minutes. – 8:19 PM
Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
The Rockets start 3-4 from 3 and 5-9 in total to take an early 13-4 lead over the Nuggets. – 8:18 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Here’s another good sighting: Michael Porter Jr. with the team post back surgery. pic.twitter.com/5owiYPrQgb8:18 PM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
This game has featured a lot of Austin Rivers early on. Too much Austin Rivers, to be clear. – 8:17 PM
Salman Ali @SalmanAliNBA
When Jalen Green is making his jumpers AND getting downhill, it’s truly a site to behold. – 8:17 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
There’s way too much that Austin Rivers does offensively that bothers me. – 8:16 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
KPJ pokes the ball loose from Rivers twice on the same possession. He is so much more defensive-minded this season than last. Rockets would like his return to help turn things around on that end. – 8:15 PM
Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets
#Rockets starters vs Denver! 🚀 pic.twitter.com/nqnn5512Jy8:14 PM

Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets
Showing out in the 🔥 warm ups. pic.twitter.com/3FVjPfDsFK8:13 PM

David Hardisty @clutchfans
The Rockets broadcast doesn’t know either why Christian Wood isn’t starting. No one is talking about that just yet. – 8:11 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Christian Wood has started every game he’s appeared in since joining the Rockets – 8:06 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Christian Wood is in uniform and he is active – 8:03 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Christian Wood is now on the floor as the Rockets warm up – 8:01 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Aaron Gordon and 10-day Rayjon Tucker just had an impromptu dunk contest during pre-game warmups. The Rockets crowd was loving it. Here’s Tucker ✈ showing out. pic.twitter.com/WL7lPMDVdh8:01 PM

Adam Wexler @AdamJWexler
As I noted earlier, #Rockets Christian Wood was on the court before the game, and has now joined the team for pregame, pre-tipoff warmups … – 8:01 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
Aaron Gordon and Jalen Green putting on a dunk contest show in warmups. – 7:59 PM
Adam Wexler @AdamJWexler
11 #Rockets on the court for pregame warmups. (Porter Jr. not pictured but has joined the group) pic.twitter.com/z4BbMQKwbA7:53 PM

Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
No sign of Christian Wood as the Rockets take the floor – 7:51 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
There is no word on why Christian Wood is not in the starting lineup tonight or if he is available – 7:45 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Rockets starters
Jalen Green
Kevin Porter Jr
David Nwaba
Jae’Sean Tate
Daniel Theis – 7:44 PM
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
Starting 🖐 in Houston!
#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/iLFdiASsRO7:41 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
#Nuggets starters: Campazzo, Rivers, Barton, Gordon and Jokic. – 7:38 PM
Adam Wexler @AdamJWexler
#Rockets starters tonight vs Nuggets: Tate, Nwaba, Theis, Green, Porter Jr.
Nuggets starters: Gordon, Barton, Jokic, Rivers, Campazzo – 7:36 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Popeye Jones said he sent Bol a text today telling him to “be ready.”
During pregame shooting, Markus Howard was on the sidelines hyping Bol up and reinforcing the same thing. – 7:35 PM
Cayleigh Griffin @cayleighgriffin
#Rockets starters vs. Denver: Green, KPJ, Tate, Nwaba, and Theis. – 7:35 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
Rockets starters: Tate, Nwaba, Wood, Green, Porter Jr.
Nuggets: Gordon, Barton, Jokic, Rivers, Campazzo. – 7:33 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nuggets/Rockets Pregame Lounge
– Popeye Jones is in the big chair
– Who are Rayjon Tucker and Carlik Jones?
– Best @DKSportsbook bets for the night
youtube.com/watch?v=5oN7le…7:27 PM
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
Start the year off right by voting #NikolaJokic for #NBAAllStar ‼
🌟 1 RETWEET = 1 VOTE 🌟 pic.twitter.com/BmOktFMmjJ7:22 PM

Chris Dempsey @chrisadempsey
Aaron Gordon out for his normal warmup slot tonight, is expected to play for the #Nuggets vs. Rockets, which is great news. He has missed 3 games with a hamstring injury. pic.twitter.com/GUEaBPAcbd7:14 PM

Adam Wexler @AdamJWexler
From @Denver Nuggets : Austin Rivers (right thumb sprain), Aaron Gordon (left hamstring soreness), and Vlatko Čančar (Non-COVID illness) are all ACTIVE for tonight’s game at #Rockets. – 7:06 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Nuggets announced that all three of Gordon, Rivers and Cancar are active tonight. – 7:06 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nuggets acting head coach Popeye Jones pregame in Houston: “I want everyone in Boulder County to know that we’re thinking of them and we’re with them.” – 7:03 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Austin Rivers, Aaron Gordon and Vlatko Cancar are all available tonight, team announces.
That’s 12 healthy players available. #Nuggets are now deep. – 7:03 PM
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
INJURY UPDATE: Austin Rivers (right thumb sprain), Aaron Gordon (left hamstring soreness), and Vlatko Čančar (Non-COVID illness) are all ACTIVE for tonight’s game.
#MileHighBasketball7:02 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Popeye Jones was an assistant coach in Philly when Rayjon Tucker was on the 76ers. It sounds like he’ll play tonight for Denver. “I know what he brings to the table. He brings defense. He brings toughness. He really can compete on the defensive end of the floor,” Jones says. – 6:59 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
And Austin Rivers (questionable) is warming up here in Houston with some tape over his sprained right thumb. pic.twitter.com/zzmXgFvYLp6:47 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
The #Nuggets didn’t hold shootaround this morning because they needed to register all their negative tests, and the timing of their returned results and the court time didn’t match up. – 6:46 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Stephen Silas gave an update on when Alperen Sengun may return to the floor audacy.com/sportsradio610…6:43 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Popeye Jones says Aaron Gordon should be available tonight. Vlatko Cancar will be able to play short 2-3 minute stints. Sounds like Austin Rivers is a game-time decision. Jones also sent Bol Bol a text today and told him to be ready: “There may be a Bol Bol sighting tonight.” – 6:43 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Popeye Jones on defending Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green:
“We’ve struggled containing the ball against athletic backcourts…we have to keep the ball in front.” – 6:40 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Popeye Jones is noting that Denver has struggled to contain on the perimeter recently and against this Houston backcourt, that is a priority. – 6:39 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Popeye says Vlatko may be back for short stints tonight, in addition to Aaron Gordon being ready to go.
Also said he sent a text to Bol Bol “be ready.” – 6:38 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Popeye Jones said that Aaron Gordon should be back tonight and that Vlatko Cancar can play short stints. Jones also texted Bol to be ready for minutes. – 6:38 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Popeye Jones said he coached Rayjon Tucker last year with Philly. – 6:37 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
Aaron Gordon to play for the Nuggets vs. Rockets. Austin Rivers remains questionable. – 6:37 PM
Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
Popeye Jones, the Nuggets’ acting coach for tonight’s game at Houston, said Aaron Gordon should be able to play tonight. Austin Rivers looking like more of a game-time decision. – 6:37 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
It’s cool to see Malone give complete freedom to Popeye Jones and his staff tonight. Jones noted that Malone did not micromanage and simply told him “good luck”.
Malone’s assistants tend get promoted into bigger roles after spending time in Denver and it’s not surprising why. – 6:37 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Popeye Jones said it sounds like Aaron Gordon will be able to go tonight. – 6:37 PM
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
So many of our neighbors are struggling in the aftermath of the fires in Boulder County.
We have compiled a list of ways you can assist them if you are able to ♥
ballarena.com/howtohelp6:35 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Popeye Jones said that Michael Malone told him he wouldn’t be micromanaging him tonight but would be watching from home in Denver.
Said Malone to Popeye: “Good luck!” – 6:35 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Popeye Jones is getting ready to speak to Nuggets media for the first time. – 6:30 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
I tried to get Stephen Silas to tip his hand on how the absence of Alperen Sengun will impact how the Rockets handle Nikola Jokic, but he didn’t take the bait.
FWIW I think the Rockets still start Christian Wood and Daniel Theis together – 6:29 PM
Cayleigh Griffin @cayleighgriffin
Coach Silas anticipates Alperen Sengun to miss about a week with the ankle sprain. – 6:20 PM
David Hardisty @clutchfans
Stephen Silas says Alperen Sengun is not a day to day thing with the ankle. It will probably be a week and then they will evaluate again. – 6:19 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
Rockets rookie Alperen Sengun to be out at least a week, Stephen Silas said. – 6:19 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Stephen Silas says he doesn’t have an update on when Alperen Sengun will be able to return to the floor. “It’s not day-to-day, it’s probably about a week and then we’ll see.” – 6:19 PM
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
New year, new fits 💧
#ULTRADrip x #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/X91H9OiTYX6:17 PM

Adam Wexler @AdamJWexler
#Rockets Eric Gordon (groin) will not play tonight, per HC Silas – 6:17 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
Eric Gordon is out tonight for Rockets vs. Nuggets. – 6:17 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Eric Gordon is out tonight, per Stephen Silas – 6:16 PM
Cayleigh Griffin @cayleighgriffin
Eric Gordon is out tonight vs. Denver. – 6:16 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Markus Howard: Still a 🪣 pic.twitter.com/QU5FghQe9s6:08 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
And here’s 10-day Rayjon Tucker.
Team didn’t have shootaround today. He’s talked with assistant coaches and watched film. The other advice he was given? If all else fails or you forget a set, give the ball to Nikola. pic.twitter.com/PIPve1LOuZ5:55 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
Even more good news: Markus Howard is here in Houston and shooting. pic.twitter.com/tmmrl67mfI5:52 PM

Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets
new year, same drip 🥶
@MichelobULTRA | #ULTRADrip pic.twitter.com/wW9r9WRRBX5:51 PM

Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nuggets players expected to be available tonight:
Nikola Jokic
Will Barton
Facu Campazzo
JaMychal Green
Bol Bol
Petr Cornelie
Davon Reed – 10 day
Rayjon Tucker – 10-day
Carlik Jones – 10-day
Aaron Gordon, Austin Rivers, Vlatko Cancar are questionable. – 5:43 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
Could be a good sign: Vlatko Cancar, who didn’t play vs. Golden State due to a non-COVID illness, is going through his typical pre-game shooting routine. pic.twitter.com/W4JiGT19rJ5:33 PM

KC Johnson @KCJHoop
Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. interviewed for the Bulls’ head coaching job and spent close to 5 seasons with Arturas Karnisovas in Denver. In response to @Chuck Swirsky in-person question, Unseld via Zoom from DC said he and Karnisovas “had a lot of good conversations.” – 5:27 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
New #Rockets at #TXSN – Rockets’ Alperen Sengun ruled out vs. Nuggets with sprained ankle ift.tt/3FLT7eh5:18 PM
Rayjon Tucker @th3flighttuck
Happy heavenly Birthday Grandpa I love you and miss you 🕊💚 #LLAW5:09 PM
Adam Wexler @AdamJWexler
Tonight’s #Rockets First Shot for charity will be taken by Miss Houston 2021 Priscilla Londono. pic.twitter.com/ieHpv4AEzw5:07 PM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
To sum things up, Denver has:
-4 coaches in protocols including Malone
-4 players in protocols (Bones, Nnaji, Morris, Jeff Green)
-4 players out with injury (Murray, Porter, Dozier, Howard)
-3 players questionable with injuries/non-COVID illness (Gordon, Cancar, Rivers) – 5:03 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
With David Adelman also in protocols as @Adrian Wojnarowski reported, Denver now has four coaches on health and safety protocols including head coach Michael Malone. – 4:58 PM
Michael Singer @msinger
David Adelman has entered health and safety protocols, source confirms to @denverpost. Popeye Jones will coach tonight in Houston. @Adrian Wojnarowski first.
Popeye is, obviously, the third stringer… and joined the staff this season. – 4:58 PM
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
Over/Under 6 assists for Facu tonight?
Sign up with @PointsBetUSA to receive your first bets risk-free up to $2K: bit.ly/3DlZTq7
#MileHighBasketball4:56 PM
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
The Denver Nuggets acting coach — David Adelman — has entered Covid protocols, leaving the head coaching assignment to assistant Popeye Jones vs. Houston tonight, sources tell ESPN. Adelman had replaced Michael Malone, who is also in Covid protocols. – 4:55 PM
Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets
Back-to-back Remix Nights to tip-off 2022 🎉
⏰ 7:00 PM Tip-Off
📺 @ATTSportsNetSW
📻 @SportsTalk790 / En Español KLAT 1010AM
🚀 @HoustonFCU pic.twitter.com/jZxDsuyPCU4:00 PM

Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
With the Carlik Jones signing, here’s Denver’s healthy roster breakdown tonight:
Guards
Facu Campazzo
Will Barton
Rayjon Tucker
Carlik Jones
Wings
Davon Reed
Forwards
Bol Bol
Bigs
Nikola Jokić
JaMychal Green
Petr Cornelie
QUESTIONABLE
Aaron Gordon
Austin Rivers
Vlatko Cancar – 3:44 PM
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
ROSTER UPDATE: We’ve signed Carlik Jones to a 10-Day Contract.
#MileHighBasketball
nba.com/nuggets/news/n…3:35 PM
Cayleigh Griffin @cayleighgriffin
Alperen Sengun will miss tonight’s game vs. Denver with a right ankle sprain.
Eric Gordon is listed as doubtful with right groin tightness. Jalen Green is probable.
Mathews, Augustin and Jarreau remain in health & safety protocols. – 3:31 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
I’ll have a story up on @MileHighSports shortly looking at where the Nuggets roster stands and who will need to step up. Keep your eyes out for it prior to tip tonight. – 3:04 PM
Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen
Rockets’ Alperen Sengun ruled out vs. Nuggets with sprained ankle houstonchronicle.com/texas-sports-n… via @houstonchron – 3:01 PM
Adam Himmelsbach @AdamHimmelsbach
New: Leftover nuggets from my chat with Brad Stevens, including his thoughts on Danny Ainge joining Utah, the progress of Tatum and Brown, and why the Celtics filled their hardship openings with older vets. bostonglobe.com/2022/01/01/spo…2:57 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Nuggets depth chart tonight if everyone on the injury report is out is not pretty
Guards:
Facu Campazzo
Carlik Jones
Rayjon Tucker
Wings:
Will Barton III
Davon Reed
Bigs:
JaMychal Green
Bol Bol
Petr Cornelie
Nikola Jokic – 2:56 PM
Adam Spolane @AdamSpolane
Rockets have ruled out Alperen Sengun from tonight’s game against the Nuggets with a right ankle sprain. Eric Gordon is doubtful (right groin tightness), while Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are probable. No change with the players currently in health and safety protocols – 2:52 PM
Greg Dickerson @gregdickerson13
Charlotte fan hit by errant Christian Wood pass wants direct apology sports.yahoo.com/charlotte-fan-… via @Yahoo
Go screw lady…an apology..it was an accident. Pay attention when you’re sitting courtside…ugh people like her bug me. #entitled2:48 PM
Adam Wexler @AdamJWexler
Here’s the latest #Rockets injury report vs Nuggets tonight:
OUT: Augustin, Mathews, Jarreau (health & safety protocols
OUT: Sengun (right ankle)
DOUBTFUL: Gordon (groin)
PROBABLE: Porter Jr (thigh), Green (hamstring) – 2:47 PM
TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Not that @Michael Singer’s reporting needs verification, but I can confirm the Nuggets will be signing Carlik Jones to a 10-day hardship exception which should be official shortly.
Jones is expected to be available tonight for the Nuggets against the Rockets in Houston. – 2:47 PM
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
Kickin’ off 2022 in H-Town!
Game preview ⤵
#MileHighBasketball
nba.com/nuggets/news/n…2:45 PM
David Locke @DLocke09
Another NBA official making their debut tonight. Sharae Mitchell calling the Spurs v. Pistons in her debut
Bianca Burns calls her 4th NBA game tonight Clippers v. Brooklyn, Cheryl Flores calls her 11th in Denver v. Houston and Brent Haskill calls his 3rd game in Jazz v. Warriors – 2:43 PM





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