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NBA -- Returning Howard leads Rockets past Nuggets, 108-96


PhilBoxing.com




HOUSTON -- In front of their 12th straight sellout crowd at the Toyota Center, the Houston Rockets defeated the Denver Nuggets 108-96 Saturday night.

The victory coincided with the return of Houston center Dwight Howard, who missed the previous 11 games due to a strained right knee.

The Rockets were paced by the NBA's leading scorer James Harden, who is averaging 26.4 points a game. Harden scrambled in the final nanoseconds of the game to grab his tenth rebound to secure the third triple-double of his career (24 points, 10 assists). He has kept his team steady in Howard's absence, leading Houston to an 8-3 record during that time.

The Rockets struggled early and watched the Nuggets build a lead that grew by as many as 10 in the opening minutes. Denver shot a high 60 percent from the filed during that span while Houston shot only 23.1 percent.

Houston found their rhythm in the second quarter and out scored Denver 33-17 to seize the lead at halftime.

Houston also got a lift from Donatas Motiejunas who scored a career high 25 points.

Darnell Arthur came off the bench for Denver and led in scoring with 20 points. Forward JJ Hickson (14 points, 10 rebounds) and guard Ty Lawson (19 points, 12 assists) each had double-doubles for the Nuggets.

Howard posted 26 points and 13 rebounds and played 30 minutes. He also surpassed 10,000 career rebounds in his return.

Head coach Kevin McHale offered his assessment. "Dwight was fantastic. It's hard to do that... to take that much time off and then come back and have any semblance of rhythm at all. He looked good and we'll just have to build from there."

And Howard's take?

"It's good being back on the floor." (AD)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Adeline Deladisma.


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