DENVER -- Wilson Chandler scored 21 points in his first start in place of Danilo Gallinari and the Denver Nuggets beat the Houston Rockets 132-114 on Saturday night for their franchise-tying 20th straight home win.
The Nuggets won their fourth in a row despite losing the versatile Gallinari to a torn ACL in Thursday's win over Dallas. They set a season high in points, surpassing the 128 scored against Chicago on Feb. 7.
And they did it after a slow start. The Nuggets turned a 12-point deficit into a blowout win with strong play during the middle of the game. Denver outscored the Rockets 77-48 in the second and third quarters to match the longest home winning streak since the 1984-85 season.
Corey Brewer continued his strong play for the Nuggets with 22 points and Andre Iguodala had 18 points and 14 assists.
It was the type of game the Nuggets needed as they push for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference without the services of their top two scorers. While leading scorer Ty Lawson will likely return at some point, most likely in the playoffs, Gallinari is done for this year. With five games left in the season Denver is trying to stay hot and finish strong.
Houston's drive to clinch a playoff spot stalled, along with its four-game win streak. The Rockets entered Saturday with a magic number of two to clinch a postseason trip and it remained that way after Denver continued its dominating home season. The Nuggets are now 35-3 at Pepsi Center, one win from tying the franchise record for home victories.
Jeremy Lin led the Rockets with 23 points.
The Nuggets survived a rough first quarter against Houston to take a 64-56 lead at halftime. Denver hit 14 of 21 shots from the field in the second quarter and outscored the Rockets 39-21.
NOTES: Rockets guard Carlos Delfino missed his third straight game with a right foot injury/flu symptoms. ... The Nuggets struggled defensively to start the season but are fifth in defensive efficiency since March 1. Denver coach George Karl said his team needs to be even better for the rest of the season and playoffs. "The first thing I wrote in my notes this morning was 'We can't be a goof-around defensive team anymore, and our defense now has to create offense,' " Karl said. "We have too many quarters we cruise-control on defense. I don't think we can do that." Because of the importance of defense, Karl said he would probably play Anthony Randolph more with Gallinari out. "My gut says it's between Anthony and Jordan (Hamilton) and I lean probably to Anthony," Karl said. "I like his defense." ... The Rockets averaged 22 turnovers in the first three games against Denver.