The Nuggets pulled away from Houston in Monday’s second half, leading to a 129-113 Denver victory (box score), but it was a valuable learning experience for second-year Rockets center Alperen Sengun versus back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic.
Sengun had a team-high 18 points (50% FG) and 7 rebounds in 23 minutes, with most of Houston’s regulars not returning to the game in the fourth quarter due to a lopsided score. On the other side, Jokic showed his MVP chops with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists in just 27 minutes, shooting 11-of-17 (64.7%) from the field.
Backcourt star Jamal Murray added 31 points for the Nuggets, all on an identical 11-of-17 shooting line to Jokic.
Jalen Green had 17 points and 7 assists for the Rockets but struggled to shoot, making just 5-of-15 from the field (33.3%) and 1-of-7 on 3-pointers (14.3%). Rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. had 9 points and 3 rebounds on 3-of-4 shooting (75.0%), though he played only 17 minutes. For the Rockets, it was the third game in four nights and one at high altitude, which likely contributed to the decision by head coach Stephen Silas to limit minutes for many regulars.
Scroll on for highlights, analysis, and postgame interviews. Houston plays game two of its four-part road trip with another matchup at Denver on Wednesday, with tipoff again set for 8 p.m. Central.
Analysis and Interviews