Notebook: Nuggets 93, Rockets 87



Posted Nov 8, 2012 12:49 AM

By Matt Miller, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: At times, it seemed neither the Denver Nuggets nor the Houston Rockets would be able to get out of their own way and earn a victory. Denver, however, managed to shake off the miscues and execute long enough for the Rockets to complete their self-destruction.

Ty Lawson scored 21 points and dished out eight assists, and Kenneth Faried added a double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds as the Nuggets overcame poor free-throw shooting (57.1 percent) and 22 turnovers to hold off Houston for a 93-87 victory Wednesday at Toyota Center. Corey Brewer (14 points) and JaVale McGee (12 points, six boards) combined for 26 points off the bench for Denver (2-3), which earned its first road win of the season and second straight victory overall.

Carlos Delfino netted 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting and snatched five rebounds off the bench to pace the Rockets (2-2), who fell to 0-2 at home this season. Patrick Patterson added 18 points and five boards, while James Harden was held to 15 points on 5-for-15 shooting.

QUOTABLE: "We're not cutting. The ball's sticking. There is a lot of stuff we've got to correct. ... It's self-inflicting gunshot wounds for us right now. We just keep on doing the same things."

-- Coach Kevin McHale on Houston's helter-skelter play

THE STAT: New players aside, the Rockets' offense has been a far cry from efficient over the last three games. Houston has turned it over an average of 19.7 times and shot 38.1 percent (103-for-270) from the field during this period.

TURNING POINT: Delfino drained a 3-pointer, and Harden scored in transition on back-to-back possessions to bring the Rockets within 89-85 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. But Harden failed to maintain solid footing while driving to the rim on the next Houston possession, causing him to miss a layup. Andre Miller grabbed the rebound and threaded a pass down the court to Iguodala, whose comeback-ending dunk stretched Denver's lead to 91-85. Faried threw in an intimidating swat of a Harden shot attempt shortly after, placing an exclamation point on the Nuggets' big night defensively against the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week.

QUOTABLE II: "We had some frustrating periods and made some mistakes. ... I did miss a couple of layups, which was tough on me, and I was kind of getting down on myself. But everybody had faith. My coaches had faith. My teammates had faith. ... I got to be that guy to energize the team."

-- Faried on what helped he and his teammates overcome the lackluster play that allowed the Rockets to remain within striking distance

NOT: Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari could not shake his early-season shooting slump against the Rockets, finishing 6-for-15 from the field. Gallinari is shooting an uncharacteristic 29.8 percent (17-for-57) overall through four games this season.

GOOD MOVE: Houston's defensive adjustments at halftime, mainly putting more pressure on Lawson, knocked the high-octane Nuggets' offense off-balance in the third quarter. Denver, which built a 15-point lead during the second period thanks to the speedster's work in transition, saw its advantage drop to 65-63 after missing 10 of 11 shots and committing nine turnovers over the first 10 minutes of the second half.

BAD MOVE: The Rockets, who entered Wednesday's contest shooting 27.4 percent from behind the arc for the season, continue to be convinced that they are a good 3-point shooting team that can work its way out of the perceived funk. Houston made only eight of 23 (24.2 percent) attempts from long range against Denver, providing further proof that it needs to look for more scoring inside of 25 feet.

NOTABLE: The Nuggets played without reserve forward Wilson Chandler (rest). ... Rockets center Omer Asik left the game briefly during the third period to receive four stitches for a cut above his left eye. Despite missing nearly a quarter to deal with the cut, Asik (10 points, 13 rebounds) recorded his second career double-double. ... Houston was outrebounded and grabbed less than 50 boards for the first time this season. ... Led by Jeremy Lin's career-high six steals, the Rockets collected a season-best 15 steals.

UP NEXT: For the Nuggets, Friday vs. Utah, Saturday @ Golden State, Monday @ Phoenix. For the Rockets, Friday @ Memphis, Saturday vs. Detroit, Monday vs. Miami.