The Houston Rockets snapped a seven-game losing streak Monday afternoon and will now try to build some momentum when they welcome the Denver Nuggets to the Toyota Center.
Prior to Monday, the Rockets hadn't won since Jan. 8 at home against the Los Angeles Lakers. It wasn't pretty on Monday, but Houston emerged with a 100-94 victory and concluded a four-game road trip.
"We were playing the way we were - we were missing layups, bouncing the ball off our knee - it was a comedy act for awhile where we just couldn't get things to go," said head coach Kevin McHale.
James Harden led the way with 29 points after a spectacular night at the foul line. Harden went 19-for-21 from the charity stripe and only 5-for-20 from the field.
"That's hard to do." remarked McHale of Harden's point total versus his shooting percentage.
The Rockets as a team only shot 39 percent from the field. Chandler Parsons, Carlos Delfino, Marcus Morris and Patrick Beverley all scored in double figures. In an interesting development, Beverley played almost all of the fourth quarter instead of Jeremy Lin.
The Nuggets come to Houston winners of seven of their last nine. A six-game hot streak was snapped with back-to-back losses, one in Oklahoma City to the Thunder and a shocking home loss to the Washington Wizards.
On Sunday, Denver hosted the Thunder and prevailed, 118-112, in overtime. Seven Nuggets scored in double figures, led by 26 off the bench from Corey Brewer. All tallied, the reserves contributed 57 points.
The Nuggets were whistled for a season-high 33 fouls against the Thunder and Oklahoma City picked up 40 points from the free-throw line. Denver dominated the glass to the tune of 50-39 as Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos both had double digits in rebounds.
"Against the top three or four teams in the NBA, if you're not physical, you don't have a chance," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We cannot ever allow ourselves to be dominated."
A win on Wednesday would give Karl 1,100 for his career. He moved past Larry Brown into sixth place on the all-time coach's victory list Sunday night.
"It's staggering," said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, who was an assistant under Karl for two seasons in Denver. "It's hard to win one game. He's an amazing coach. He's going to do it for many more years. He's going to coach until he falls - and he's not going to fall for a long time."
The Nuggets have won four in a row over the Rockets, including a 93-87 victory on Nov. 7. Three of Denver's wins during this streak came in Houston.