When the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets tangle, both teams can flirt with 100 points by the end of the third quarter.
That could be different in 2013-14 with the changes the Nuggets have made and Dwight Howard joining the Rockets. Defense will be a focus for both of these teams as they gave up over 100 points per game last year.
The battle of Howard and JaVale McGee should be fun to watch, whether it's high-quality basketball or not. Between the two, we can expect eight blocked shots and a pair of dunks that will make us jump off our couches, but we can also expect some atrocious free-throw shooting and poor fundamentals in the post.
For the Nuggets to win, someone is going to have to step up at the 2. Without Andre Iguodala to defend James Harden, Randy Foye or Evan Fournier will get the nod and take on a great deal of responsibility. With Harden's scoring and passing abilities, along with Howard, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin all on the floor at the same time, there will be a lot of one-on-one opportunities.
When that happens, whoever guards Harden needs to force him right as much as possible. The lefty has great footwork and as Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated explains, Harden uses the gathering rule to his advantage in getting into the lane effectively.
The Rockets will need some time to develop chemistry with Howard, but it won't be nearly as complicated as it was with the Los Angeles Lakers. Houston prevails in a close one.