Weary Rockets prove strong enough to deal blowout loss to Nuggets
James Harden showed effects of fatigue early but still managed to finish off the Nuggets. AP

RYAN Anderson and Trevor Ariza started the shootout before James Harden gave the strong finishing kick as the Houston Rockets overcame fatigue to beat the Denver Nuggets, 128-110, at the Pepsi Center on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).

Anderson and Ariza each sank three triples and scored 11 in the first quarter Houston outscored Denver 42-33 in the period despite Harden looking fatigued from beating the Golden State Warriors in double overtime on Thursday. The Rockets even dropped 73 points, the most they have scored in a half, at the break and led by 10, all while Harden struggled with just 3-of-10 from the field.

Eric Gordon nailed two of his four triples in the third to keep the rampage going for the Rockets, before Harden took over late, scoring five points in a brief stint in the fourth quarter to give Houston its biggest lead at 22 points with 4:24 left. The Nuggets could only manage to get as close as 15 the rest of the way.

Harden led seven Rockets players in double figures with 20 points. Anderson and Eric Gordon each scored 18, while Ariza added 16 markers before suffering an apparent hamstring injury late. Houston improved to 13-7 and extended its streak of hitting at least 10 threes to an NBA-record 19 games. Anderson, Gordon and Ariza each drilled four treys against Denver.

The Nuggets fell to 7-12 despite Wilson Chandler’s 24 points off the bench.  Will Barton and Danilo Gallinari added 17 and 16 markers, respectively, while Kenneth Faried finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards.  

 

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