Denver Nuggets got even with the Houston Rockets for the recent defeat in Texas, by beating Mike D’Antoni’s crew tonight, 117-110. The game was marked with another magnificent performance of Nikola Jokic, who posted yet another triple-double. Also, the news of Kobe Bryant’s tragedy shook all the players.
“Everybody in here, when we heard we didn’t really feel like playing basketball,” said Michael Porter Jr. ” But this is our job and we gotta go out and play.. It was a heartbreaking news. The whole first half I didn’t think about basketball.”
Meanwhile, the Serb had 24 points, had 12 boards and 11 assists, all that in 38 minutes. He led the way in all aspects of the game. When Rockets pressured, doubling the defense on him, he would elegantly find a solution that eventually hurt the rivals. Whether was that a pass, scoring a bucket, creating space, it didn’t matter because everybody knew that the Joker is about to do something big. After all, that is why he is the No.1 player of this franchise.
Houston was up in the first half, and the game had a bit different course than many expect once seeing the final result. The Rockets controlled things on the court in the opening two periods, having between 5 and 9 points of advantage.
However, when the third quarter started, the Nuggets came back, and the fans at the Pepsi Center had a chance to feel the playoff thrill. Both the Nuggets and the Rockets traded buckets and had several changes in the lead. That situation extended until the first few minutes of the fourth sequence when Denver made the push to get away to a safe distance.
It wasn’t anything spectacular, but still, the home team gained a solid lead, which was kept until the end.
“The best way you can honor Kobe, is to go out and play with his passion,” said Mike Malone following the game.
Russell Westbrook had a team-high among the guests, with 32 points and 7 boards and assists each. But the former MVP had 10 turnovers, with all the rest of his teammates adding six combined,
James Harden didn’t play this one due to a left thigh contusion injury. That was, of course, felt immediately, and the entire burden fell on Westbrook, who didn’t adjust to it very well.
Eric Gordon had 19 points, Ben McLemore 15 and Austin Rivers 13. Clint Capela added 9 with 12 rebounds. Mike D’Antoni had a few words on the current situation after Kobe’s death.
“That’s something probably fans don’t realize. These guys, life is with them all the time, whether it’s family or friends. Collectively, we had to get through it. It’s just what we do.”
Among the hosts, Jerami Grant was right near Jokic, scoring 25 points, and havings 4 boards. Michael Porter Jr, delivered 17 with four threes hit and also nine rebounds. Monte Morris had the same number of points, but also added 7 rebounds and four assists.
This was the 32nd win for the Nuggets, who now have 14 losses also. Mike Malone’s boys are still the fourth team in the West, with a heavy competition behind and in front of them. Rocket with 28-16 are fifth, but a few wins behind, and for the moment, they will be fighting for the place between the 5th and the 7th place.
They are facing the Utah Jazz already tomorrow on the road, and after that head, for Portland to have another tough challenge, this time against the Trail Blazers.
Denver is visiting Memphis Grizzlies, and after that, has a massive clash with Utah, which might determine a lot of things in the future. Following that contest, Denver goes to Milwaukee to face the league-leading Bucks.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.