Fred VanVleet scored a season-high 26 points, Alperen Sengun added 23 and the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to six with a 107-104 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
The Rockets rode timely contributions from reserves Jeff Green, Tari Eason and Jae’Sean Tate to keep their winning streak intact. Eason drilled a pair of corner 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter, his first providing Houston a 79-76 lead — its first advantage since the second period.
Green (15 points) added two 3-pointers in the final frame and three free throws, including one after Tate stole an inbound pass with 11 seconds remaining and the Rockets leading 105-102.
Houston recorded 31 bench points to complement VanVleet and Sengun, who added eight rebounds and five assists to his ledger in a riveting battle with superstar center Nikola Jokic, who posted his fourth triple-double of the season with 36 points, 21 rebounds and 11 assists.
Jokic followed a 3-pointer by Reggie Jackson (14 points) with one of his own with 18.2 seconds left that cut the deficit to 103-102. VanVleet followed with two free throws.
Michael Porter Jr. (25 points, 10 rebounds) posted a double-double for the Nuggets. Aaron Gordon chipped in 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Jokic was an unrelenting force in the opening period. Sengun attempted to take the fight to the two-time MVP, but Jokic got rolling midway through the first quarter and closed the period with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting plus five rebounds and three assists. With Jokic as their fulcrum, the Nuggets shot 54.5 percent from the floor while connecting on two of four 3-pointers and four of five free throws.
But when Jokic sat late in the first, the Rockets fashioned a comeback from their nine-point deficit. Houston turned a 10-0 spurt into a 31-30 lead via a Jabari Smith Jr. 10-footer, and the Nuggets needed Jokic to return to action in order to reclaim control. Porter, with nine second-quarter points, was integral as well, but when Jokic made a layup through a Dillon Brooks foul and converted the subsequent free throw, Denver led 50-43 with 1:02 left in the half.
–Field Level Media
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