Clint Capela led the way with a season-high 24 points, and he was active on both ends and extremely difficult for Nikola Jokic to handle in heading up a balanced offensive attack that saw the Rockets finish with six players in double figures, including all five starters, and also saw them shoot 55 percent from the field.
Houston paired that with a bend-but-don’t break defense that gave up 50 percent shooting to the Nuggets, but really cranked up the heat down the stretch to help seal the deal in a vintage Rockets performance. This was how we are used to seeing them play.
In addition to Capela’s big night, the Rockets also got 22 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, and 3 steals from James Harden. And despite having just 3 points on 1-5 shooting at the break, The Beard stepped it up and took over the game offensively in the second half. He scored 9 straight points in the fourth quarter after Denver cut Houston’s lead to 89-85, and his three-pointer with 4 minutes left gave the Rockets an 11-point lead and essentially sealed the deal.
The Rockets also got a big night from Chris Paul, who finished with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists to go along with 7-12 shooting from the field. He helped carry the Rockets in the first half when Harden wasn’t scoring, and he appears he could finally be rolling into shape.
James Ennis scored a season-high 16 points tonight for the Rockets as well, and P.J. Tucker scored 12 and Eric Gordon had 11 to round out the Rockets players in double figures. Tucker also hit 4-7 from beyond the arc and played his usual rugged defense.
The Nuggets were led by Monte Morris, who finished with 19 off of the bench, and they also got 15 apiece from Gary Harris and Jamal Murray, 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists from Nikola Jokic, and 13 points from Paul Milsap.
The Rockets now move to 6-7 on the year with their second straight victory over a good team with winning record and look to be rounding into shape ahead of a big Thursday night showdown with the Golden State Warriors.
I wasn’t feeling very confident about matching up with The Dubs, but Houston very well could be coming together, and I can’t wait to see if the Rockets really are as back as they’ve appeared these last two games.
We’ll find out for sure in the nationally televised contest in two nights.