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DENVER – Randy Foye scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half, and the Denver Nuggets hung on to beat the Houston Rockets 123-116 on Wednesday night.
Kenneth Faried had 23 points and Timofey Mozgov added 22 for the Nuggets, who beat the Rockets for the first time in three tries this season.
Jeremy Lin led eight Houston players in double figures with 18 points.
Both teams were missing key players heading into the game and the Rockets got a scare when James Harden, leading a fast break, appeared to bang his left shin in a collision with Aaron Brooks midway through the third quarter. Fouled on the play, Harden made both free throws and left the game briefly to have the leg tended to before returning to action.
Houston's Dwight Howard, bothered by a left ankle sprain, did not play for the 10th time in the last 12 games. Denver was without Wilson Chandler (left groin strain) and Ty Lawson (left ankle sprain).
Trailing by 10 at the half, Houston pulled to 94-86 on a jumper by Chandler Parsons late in the third quarter. Foye, though, hit a long jumper, starting an 11-2 run over a 2 ½-minute stretch that put Denver in front 105-88 heading into the fourth quarter.
Houston made a late push, getting within 118-114 on a 3-pointer by Troy Daniels and a tip-in by Isaiah Canaan with 2:24 left to play. But Foye, who also had 15 assists, banked in a jumper and Evan Fournier connected on a 3-pointer in successive Denver possessions to fend off the Rockets' rally.
The Rockets, trailing by as many as 19 points earlier in the game, put together an 8-0 burst to cut the deficit to 58-53 with 1:44 left in the second quarter. Lin and Parsons each had 3-pointers in the stretch.
Faried responded by converting a three-point play, helping Denver rebuild its lead to 68-58 at halftime.
NOTES: The Rockets are 8-19 when trailing at halftime. ... Houston, which beat the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday, fell to 5-4 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. ... Foye scored 30 or more points for the second time this season. He had a season-high 33 on Jan. 29 against Charlotte.