Nuggets 110, Rockets 100

Preview | Box Score | Recap

DENVER (AP)—Carmelo Anthony pointed to the Denver Nuggets’ defense.

“I had one of those night, a bad night of shooting,” Anthony said. “Fortunately, we defended them and held them to one shot in the second half and didn’t let Yao Ming go off.”

Anthony scored 20 points on 5-for-17 shooting, and Marcus Camby had 20 points and 12 rebounds to help the Nuggets beat the Houston Rockets 110-100 on Friday night.

“Marcus was exceptional and we gave a great effort,” Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “This was a very solid win against a very solid basketball team.”

With the victory, the Nuggets moved within percentage points of eighth-place Portland in the Western Conference playoff chase.

Nene and Andre Miller had 14 points each for the Nuggets, who had eight players reach double figures.

Yao had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Houston. Cuttino Mobley added 17 points, and Clarence Weatherspoon 16 for the Rockets, who lost their third straight.

“There was not one thing we did well enough to win,” Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “That game had nothing to do with fatigue.”

The Rockets had been beaten the night before by the Los Angeles Lakers and at least Yao acknowledged the second of back-to-back games had taken something out of him.

“I was tired,” Yao said. “The altitude made me even more tired.”

Anthony, who had only three field goals through three periods kept the Nuggets ahead by double figures with four free throws until Weatherspoon’s layup made it 89-81. Denver never allowed the Rockets any closer than nine points after Yao’s two free throws cut it to 101-94 with 2:06 left.

Camby converted two passes from Jon Barry into baskets between a jumper by Mobley to make it 105-96. Earl Boykins sealed the game with a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left.

The Nuggets led by as much as 81-63 after Barry’s 3-pointer with 4:12 left. Jim Jackson hit a last second shot as Houston finished the quarter with an 8-0 run to make it 85-75.

“The playoff race is going to change daily,” Bzdelik said. “Hopefully, wewill keep winning and the changes will be in our favor.”

Notes

Houston’s Steve Francis got up gingerly in the first quarter after behind slammed to the floor by Anthony. … The Rockets are 11-6 on the second night of back-to-back games. … Houston is seventh in the Western Conference, three games ahead of Denver and Portland. … Anthony tore off his head band and threw it toward the baseline after missing a layup in the second quarter. … Barry will appeal the $7,500 fine he received for verbally abusing officials in a March 27 loss at Utah. … Denver’s Voshon Lenard missed hisfourth game with sore ribs.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Houston
Y. Ming Y. Ming
8-12,  23 Pts
10 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Denver
M. Camby M. Camby
10-13,  20 Pts
12 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists