HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Rockets won in Dwight Howard’s return to the floor, defeating the Nuggets 108-96. Howard’s 26 points, 13 rebounds, and his presence on defense all helped the Rockets to a well-rounded victory. James Harden had a triple double. Donatas Motiejunas had 25 points. The Rockets improved to 18-5 on the season.
The Nuggets scored the first bucket of the second half to get within 54-50. It was at that time the Rockets reeled off eight points in 1:24 to take a 62-50 lead. Denver would cut into that lead somewhat at certain junctures, but it was that spurt that really established a cushion.
FROM THE FIELD
The Rockets were cold to start, but they heated up as the game went on. Houston ended up at 44.3 percent. Really, the story was not so much about their offense, but about their defense. The Nuggets had shot 60 percent in the opening quarter. Denver ended the game at a 37.5 percent clip.
AT THE LINE
Howard’s return led to an inevitable downward turn for the team’s free throw percentage. Howard shot 8-for-17 on his free throws. Combined, the Rockets were 20-of-34. Harden was the team’s top shooter from the stripe on this night, going 8-for-9.
Part of Howard’s impressive night were some impressive plays. Sure enough, he provided some blocks and an emphatic second-quarter alley-oop dunk, much to the Toyota Center’s fans’ content. That dunk came courtesy of Harden, who also fed Motiejunas in the fourth quarter with a no-look pass that wound up being a dunk.
The Rockets will take on these same Nuggets next Wednesday, but in Denver. That’s right – Houston will have a full three days in between.
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