Nuggets 118, Rockets 110
The Denver Nuggets knew January could make or break their
Thanks to a big fourth quarter, they head into February with
momentum and confidence.
Danilo Gallinari scored a game-high 27 points, Kenneth Faried
had 19 points and nine rebounds and the Nuggets beat the Houston
Rockets 118-110 Wednesday night.
It was Denver’s fifth straight win and, just as important, it
capped a month in which it went 12-3. After spending most of the
first two months on the road they took advantage of 12 home games
to start 2013 off right.
”We knew from the beginning of the season January was the most
important month of the season,” said Gallinari, who tied a career
high with four blocked shots. ”I thought we responded well.”
Denver played 22 of its first 32 away from home, including 17 of
the first 23. It was the first time in 28 years a team had that
heavy a road schedule to start the season and on Dec. 31 the
Nuggets were 17-15.
Now they’re 29-18 and flying high.
”We took advantage of the schedule,” guard Andre Miller said.
”We did our job early maintaining .500 heading into the home
stretch in January.”
Ty Lawson scored 16 points and Andre Iguodala had 15 points for
the Nuggets, who beat Houston for the third time this season and
twice in the last week.
Jeremy Lin scored 22 points to lead the Rockets and James Harden
and Chandler Parsons added 21 each. The Rockets had won three
straight, including a 45-point win at Utah on Monday.
They couldn’t maintain the momentum when the Nuggets turned up
”Defensively, the first 10, 11 minutes of the fourth quarter
was probably the reason we won it easy,” Denver coach George Karl
said. ”Our offensive was good but we got confidence in the game
when we finally kept them out of the paint, kept them off the
Marcus Morris’ 3-pointer with a minute left in the third gave
Houston an 85-77 lead but Denver closed out the period strong to
trail just 86-83 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Two 3-pointers by Gallinari and some missed shots by the Rockets
sparked a 24-3 Nuggets run that gave them a 101-88 lead with 6:54
left. The Rockets missed six straight shots and committed six
turnovers, which helped Denver take the big lead.
Houston had 22 turnovers overall.
”Our turnovers caught up to us. Our defensive deficiencies
caught up to us,” Lin said. ”They hit tough shots. They had eight
3-pointers the whole game and they probably had four or five in the
fourth quarter. They just got hot and we were trying to play uphill
and come back from there on out.”
Houston clawed back as a jumper by Lin and two 3s by Carlos
Delfino trimmed the lead to 101-95 with 4:55 left. Gallinari
answered with a corner 3three to make it a nine-point margin.
”Couple of calls and they got to the foul line. They got the
momentum from there,” Harden said. ”It’s tough. They are so
athletic. They get out in transition. Their point guard pushed the
ball, they got so many guys who can score. Gallinari hit a couple
of big 3s, too.”
The Rockets went on a 7-2 run to pull to 106-102 with 2:55 left,
but consecutive buckets by Andre Miller and Lawson made it an
eight-point game and Denver closed it out.
”Gallinari made a couple of tough 3s and then we decided we
were going to do it on our own,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said.
”It snowballed a little bit and they got ahead. We had to fight
back. You never want to lose. You especially don’t want to lose
when it’s self-inflicted, and we did.”
The Rockets led by as eight in the third quarter. Toney Douglas
helped build the lead with a steal and layup on two straight Denver
possessions to help Houston build the lead.
The score was close throughout the first half with neither team
leading by more than four. Harden led the way for the Rockets with
13 and Iguodala had 12 for the Nuggets.
Both teams got to the line in first two quarters, shooting a
combined 38 free throws.
NOTES: The 12 wins tied for the most ever in January for Denver.
It was last done a year ago. … Faried was named to the roster for
the Rising Stars Challenge at All Star Weekend in Houston. Faried
is averaging 11.8 points and 9.7 rebounds in 46 starts this season
… The Rockets have averaged 20.7 turnovers in the first three
games against Denver. Harden committed 19 of their 62 turnovers.
… The Nuggets reassigned G Julyan Stone to the Iowa Energy of the
NBA Developmental League.