Denver Nuggets: 3 Ways They Finally Beat the Houston Rockets

Denver Nuggets(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Denver Nuggets
(Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

TC3 was fearless.

What a path Torrey Craig has taken to February 1, 2019.  That’s the day he scored 22 points to defeat the Houston Rockets.  The points are significant, Craig was 8/11 from the floor, 2/4 from three and 4/4 at the line. Four boards, two assists, a block a steal and zero turnovers. He was a +20 for the game.

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Point at who wouldn’t take that game from an undrafted kid from South Carolina that made enough of a mark at USC-upstate to get a run in the New Zealand professional league.  That play was parlayed into an invitation to the Denver Nuggets summer league roster which Craig turned into a two-way contract with the Nuggets.  His play last season, particularly on the defensive end got Torrey Craig a two-year $4million contract.

All of that evolution led to Craig’s Friday night outburst. It was powerful and it was full of attitude.  Offensively, Torrey was a force inside and out, keeping the Nuggets charged-up.

What doesn’t show on the stat sheet is Craig’s defensive presence.  While the Nuggets employed a three-headed approach to defending James Harden, it was Torrey Craig in the second-half that harassed and frustrated the reigning and presumably defending league MVP.  Yes, Harden scored 30 and hit some seriously contested threes.  He had only nine free throw attempts, though and made just four of those.  Craig denied Chris Paul inbound passes and locked Harden down repeatedly in the second half.

It’s like TC was listening when Harden, asked about complaints over his free throw attempts, quipped “then don’t foul me”.  Harden tried, but Craig was hip to the Beard’s bag-of-tricks, at least for one night.

Huge game for Craig and an indicator that his ceiling is much higher than we may have thought.  He wasn’t alone, though, the Nuggets got big production from the Point: