Now that they’ve clinched a playoff spot, the Denver Nuggets (49-23 SU, 38-34 ATS) and Houston Rockets (47-27 SU, 34-37-3 ATS) can take it easy from here – or they can keep fighting to improve their spot in the Western Conference standings. They’ll meet Thursday night at the Toyota Center, tipping off at 8 PM ET on NBA-TV.

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The Nuggets are just a half-game behind the Golden State Warriors for first place in the West, while Houston are 3.5 games back; they also have eight games left to go in the regular season, compared to nine for Golden State and 10 for Denver. Given the quality of all the projected 5-8 Western seeds, the benefits of finishing No. 1 in the conference are limited.
This will be the first of back-to-back games for the Nuggets – Houston have Friday off, while Denver will stay on the road to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets lead their season series 2-1 SU and ATS over the Nuggets, splitting a pair at the Pepsi Center while winning 125-113 as 1.5-point home favorites on January 7; James Harden (32 points, 14 assists) was the top scorer, while Chris Paul missed that game for Houston.

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