In the 12-point victory, the Rockets received a balanced contribution all across the board. Four Rockets scored 20 or more and the team shot 50.7 percent from the field. The team also made 22 three-point buckets, outscoring the Nuggets from beyond 66-21.
The Rockets and Nuggets both came out of the gate strong with a 35-33 Nuggets lead in the first twelve minutes. The game went back and forth until a stretch in the second quarter that began close to the six-minute mark that saw the Rockets go on a 20-7 run. James Harden had 11 of the team’s points during that stretch and finished the game with 32 points and 14 assists.
In addition to Harden’s contributions, the team got some strong pushes from its supporting cast.
Gerald Green knocked down a season-high 21 points off the bench with six triples. In the last four games, Green is averaging 17 points per game.
P.J. Tucker also had an identical season-high 21 points with a career-high seven made threes. For Tucker, it was a welcomed hot streak. He scored more points tonight than he has in his past five games combined.
Clint Capela recorded a career-high 31 points on 13-18 shooting from the floor. He made five of his seven free throws and kept up offensively with potential MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets big man scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Jokic led his team in points, but also had strong play from their depth. The Nuggets outscored the Rockets 51-31 in bench scoring. Monte Morris scored 21 off the bench on 9-13 shooting and Malik Beasley put 14 on the scoreboard.
However, on nights like tonight, when the Rockets are simply red hot, it’s hard for anyone, even the Western Conference’s top seed, to beat them.
The Houston win against Denver moves them back to a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference. The team is 5-1 against the teams currently ahead of them in the standings, proving that the Rockets are most definitely proving their contender status.
The Rockets will get another chance to prove their contender status on Wednesday when the NBA’s best team, the Milwaukee Bucks, come to town. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. CT.