McHale impressed by Jones, Motiejunas
All things considered, the Rockets played their best game of the season to move to 7-4 with a 122-11 victory over the Denver Nuggets. A fast start and then answers to every run the offensive minded Nuggets put together, allowed the Rockets to win this one.
After pushing the lead to as much as 23 points in the first half, the Nuggets never got closer than seven points the rest of the game.
Dwight Howard led the Rockets with 25 points and also had seven rebounds. Seven Rockets scored in double figures, including 16 points from Jeremy Lin. Donatas Motiejunas added 12 off the Rockets bench with his first substantial playing time of the season.
Let’s get it started
The Rockets had their best start to any game this season and it really wasn’t close. They didn’t even finish the quarter strongly, but still led 33-23. They made their first five shots and shot 57 percent in the quarter and scored 22 points in the paint.
Maintain, maintain, respond, maintain
Houston built that big early lead and maintained it throughout the first half into the third quarter. They got up 23 late in the first half, but Denver went on a 24-8 run to close the gap to 66-59 with 8:27 remaining in the third period.
Houston had an answer, the type of answer they rarely had in the first 10 games. They went on a 15-4 run to get the lead back to 21 points and managed to keep Denver from threatening again the rest of the night.
Highlight of the night
Following a Nuggets' miss in the fourth quarter, the Rockets pushed the ball up the floor quickly enough that as Denver was intentionally fouling Howard, Chandler Parsons was already in the process of rising up for a dunk. It was ruled that the basket counted on the floor and after the officials reviewed it, they agreed. It gave the Rockets a 108-95 lead.
The game was over when…
The intentionally fouling of Howard simply did not work for the Nuggets. They began the fouling at 5:37 of the fourth quarter when their deficit was 12 points. When they finally relented, 2:15 later, their deficit was 16 points. Howard connected on 13-of-19 free throws during that stretch. He was 17-of-24 in the game overall.
The Rockets are off until Tuesday when they host the Boston Celtics. Boston has won two of the last three meetings, although that probably means very little considering the Celtics will be playing without Rajon Rondo (injury), Paul Pierce (traded) and Kevin Garnett (traded).