Lawson, Afflalo Lead Nuggets Past Rockets
HOUSTON -- Ty Lawson had 22 points and a career-high 15 assists, Arron Afflalo scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half and the Denver Nuggets rallied to beat the Houston Rockets 117-105 on Friday night.
Kenneth Faried added 16 points and 11 rebounds and Andre Miller scored 16 for the Nuggets, who shook off a dismal shooting start and ended up with seven players scoring in double figures.
Kevin Martin scored a season-high 35 points, but the Rockets were outrebounded 49-35 and gave up a season-high 33 second-chance points to lose for just the third time in eight games. Denver had 19 offensive rebounds.
Corey Brewer scored 15, Al Harrington had 13 and Kosta Koufos 10 for the Nuggets, who won for the third time in eight games.
Denver shot 32 percent (16 for 50) in the first half and trailed 54-51.
Afflalo opened the third quarter with two long jumpers, kickstarting a 15-5 spurt. Martin scored 20 points in the first half, and kept Houston close in the third with three 3-pointers. His last 3 of the period sent him over 30 points for the fourth time this season, and put Houston up 78-76.
Afflalo flipped in a hook shot, and the Nuggets built an 82-78 lead heading to the fourth.
Denver continued to shoot well in the final quarter, helping it hold on to a slim lead. Lawson hit a floater in the lane, then added a free throw with 4:22 left to put Denver up 100-94.
Lawson and Miller then scored on drives, and Harrington sank a 3-pointer from the corner to give Denver its biggest lead to that point, at 107-97.
The Rockets were outscored 52-36 in the paint and generated only seven fast-break points.
Denver led 26-25 after one quarter, despite shooting 30 percent (7 of 23) in the first 12 minutes. The Rockets went 0 for 6 from 3-point range in the quarter, but were 11 of 14 at the free-throw line to keep pace.
The Nuggets' shooting didn't improve in the second quarter, and many of the misses came from close range. The Rockets could only stretch the lead to as large as five, though, as they continued to misfire from beyond the arc.
Afflalo scored 10 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter, helping the Nuggets surge to a 66-59 lead.
NOTES: A total of 31 fouls were called in the ugly first half. ... The Rockets have been outrebounded in nine consecutive games. ... Houston F Luis Scola briefly left the game in the first quarter after a collision with Afflalo. He took five stitches in his lower lip and returned about seven minutes later. ... Houston F Patrick Patterson fell hard on his back trying to block Harrington's drive midway through the final quarter, and stayed face down on the court for several minutes as Houston's training staff surrounded him. He eventually left the floor on his own power. ... Denver C Timofey Mozgov stepped into a cameraman on an inbound play, twisted his left ankle and left with 5:26 left in the third quarter. Denver was already playing without Nene (left calf strain), Rudy Fernandez (lower back strain) and Danilo Gallinari (left ankle sprain). Nuggets coach George Karl had "a good feeling" that Fernandez would play in San Antonio on Sunday. Karl said Nene and Gallinari would be re-evaluated during Saturday's scheduled practice.
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