Harden scores 20 in Rockets' runaway win over Denver 128-110
DENVER (AP) James Harden scored 20 points and the Houston Rockets led from start to finish in beating the Denver Nuggets 128-110 on Friday night.
Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson had 18 points each and Sam Dekkar added 17 points for Houston, which completed an impressive road back-to-back sweep that began with its 132-127 win over Golden State in double overtime on Thursday.
Wilson Chandler had 24 points to lead the Nuggets, who saw their three-game winning streak against the Rockets come to an end. The Nuggets have lost four of their last five and fell to 3-7 this season at home, the high-altitude venue they once routinely dominated.
Up by 10 points at halftime, the Rockets took a 99-84 lead into the fourth quarter and kept the pressure on the rest of the way as part of a sharpshooting display that included converting 17 of 37 3-point attempts against a listless Nuggets defense. Denver made 9 of 30 from beyond the arc.
The Rockets took a 73-63 halftime lead over the Nuggets, who allowed a season high in points over the first two quarters by an opponent.
Houston led by as many as 15 points in the first half, hitting nine 3 pointers, including four by Anderson, to gain early separation with its highest scoring output over the first two quarters this season.
The lack of defensive urgency by Denver was epitomized by Gordon's fastbreak layup at the halftime buzzer as he drove the length of the court virtually uncontested in the final 3 seconds of the period.
Rockets: F Trevor Ariza left the game in the final minutes with a leg injury, apparently after coming down awkwardly while going for a rebound. ... Houston has made at least 10 3-pointers in 19 consecutive games, the longest streak of its kind in league history. ... Houston's previous high for first-half points was 71 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 26. ... Houston is 7-2 on the road since beginning the season 2-3.
Nuggets: C Nikola Jokic missed the game because of a sore left wrist. ... G Gary Harris remains sidelined with a right foot injury. ... G Will Barton returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the previous two games.
Rockets: Completed a five-game trip and return home to host the Boston Celtics on Monday night.
Nuggets: Play at Utah on Saturday night in the first stop of a six-game trip.