Torrey Craig’s 27 points off the bench propelled the 23-seeded Denver Nuggets to an 87-81 win over the 10-seeded Houston Rockets in Las Vegas Summer League playoff action Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Nuggets (1-3) established an early advantage by building a 20-12 first-quarter lead before the Rockets (2-2) fought back with a 24-point second. The contest featured eight ties and nine lead changes and saw Denver establish a dominant 47-33 rebounding advantage. Both clubs also struggled with ball security, combining for 34 turnovers, and turned in three-point success rates below 20 percent.
Craig supplemented his game-high scoring haul with 11 rebounds and three blocks. Second-round pick Monte Morris followed with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in 24 reserve minutes. Robert Carter, Jr. compiled 14 points, 10 boards, three assists and one steal, while Malik Beasley -- last season’s first round pick who has enjoyed a strong summer -- tallied nine points, six rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block. However, he was also guilty of eight turnovers.
Troy Williams and Chris Johnson paced Houston with matching 20-point efforts. Williams added three rebounds, two assists and four steals, while Johnson registered seven boards and two steals. Isaiah Taylor stepped up with 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds, five steals and a block. Tim Quarterman led the bench with seven points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.
The Rockets now move on to face the seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets on Thursday in a second-round matchup.