James Harden scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half and also had 11 assists, and the Houston Rockets beat the host Denver Nuggets 109-99 on Tuesday night.
Clint Capela had 24 points and nine rebounds and Chris Paul had 21 for the Rockets. Houston has won two straight amid a roster shakeup.
The Rockets were playing their third game without Carmelo Anthony, who is expected to be released by the organization. Anthony averaged 13.4 points in 10 games with Houston but the team and the forward decided to amicably end their partnership early into the season.
Monte Morris led Denver with 19 points, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris scored 15 each and Nikola Jokic had 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Nuggets have lost four in a row and eight straight to Houston.
Denver took a 55-54 lead at halftime with a strong first half by Morris off the bench. The guard had 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, but the Rockets grabbed the lead with a big third quarter.
After Jokic’s putback cut Houston’s lead to 71-70, Capela converted a three-point play, Harden had two free throws and a 3-pointer and Capela hit a layup to give the Rockets an 81-74 lead.
Eric Gordon capped the 15-6 run to end the period with a layup that made it 86-76 heading into the fourth.
Denver was able to get within 89-85 early in the fourth and then 93-89 on Murray’s jumper before Harden took over.
He started with two free throws, drove through the defense for a pair of layups and then pulled up for a 25-foot 3-pointer to give Houston a 102-91 lead.
He also drew an offensive foul on Paul Millsap when the Nuggets were trying to get back into the game.
The Nuggets brought back Jokic but he had a shot blocked by Harden.
Harden then hit a layup and finished the night with an assist to Capela on a dunk that gave Houston a 15-point lead with 3:10 left.
—Field Level Media