Tue, Feb 27, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Rockets rack up 12th straight win against Nuggets

AP, DENVER, Colorado

James Harden of the Houston Rockets, right, goes to the basket against the Denver Nuggets in their NBA game in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday.

Photo: AP

The Houston Rockets had not been in many close games lately, though they showed they are capable of winning those, too.

James Harden on Sunday had 41 points and eight rebounds, while Chris Paul scored 23 points as the Rockets beat the Nuggets 119-114 for their 12th straight victory.

Harden had 27 points in the first half and seven in the fourth quarter, when the Rockets held off a late Denver rally.

Harden has scored 40 or more points nine times this season. He finished with seven assists.

“We haven’t been in too many close games, but it was cool to have that feel,” Paul said.

The Rockets are 21-4 since Dec. 29 last year and own the best record (46-13) in the NBA.

They are outscoring teams by an average of 12.5 points during the 12-game winning streak.

The five-point win was their closest game during the streak, although Houston were up big early in the fourth quarter.

“Having a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, we’ve got to finish games off like that,” Harden said. “It was a good thing we finished the game off the right way down the stretch. We got stops when we needed to and we made shots.”

Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Denver, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

Will Barton added 25 points.

“Obviously, the first two times we played that team the game was not even close, so to make it a game and to fight all the way to the end was great to see,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “I thought the game was decided in the last two minutes of the first quarter.”

That was when Harden took over.

He scored 14 points in the last 2 minutes, 47 seconds of the quarter and assisted on Houston’s other two baskets when the Rockets extended their lead from five points to 13.

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