Rockets attempt to collect third straight win vs. Denver
(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets go for their third straight victory
when they visit the struggling Denver Nuggets tonight at the Pepsi Center.
Houston begins a three-game road trip this evening. Juwan Howard had a season-
high 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Rockets over the Los Angeles
Lakers, 102-77, on Wednesday at the Toyota Center. Rafer Alston added 20
points and Shane Battier tallied 17 points for Houston, which drained 12-of-36
shots from beyond the arc.
Dikembe Mutombo moved into sole possession of second place on the NBA’s all-
time shots blocked list, recording five in the game to end with 3,191 and pass
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (3,189). Mutombo scored just seven points, but grabbed 19
rebounds for Houston.
Tracy McGrady finished with only eight points, but did dish out 12 assists as
the Rockets ended a four-game losing streak to the Lakers.
Houston is 10-10 on the road this season. The Rockets will visit the
Sacramento Kings on Saturday and the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.
The Nuggets completed a trade on Thursday, as they dealt guard Earl Boykins,
Julius Hodge and cash considerations to the Milwaukee Bucks for guard Steve
Blake. Boykins is averaging 15.2 points and 4.3 assists per game this season,
while Blake has posted 3.6 points per contest.
Denver plays the finale of a four-game homestand. On Wednesday, Tony Parker
scored 26 points and dished out seven assists to overshadow J.R. Smith’s
return for Denver as the San Antonio Spurs downed the Nuggets, 92-83, at the
Smith, who received a 10-game suspension for his role in a December 16th brawl
with the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, scored 12 points on 5-of-13
shooting. Denver continues to play without star forward Carmelo Anthony, who
is serving a 15-game suspension for his participation in the infamous brawl.
Anthony is averaging a league-best 31.6 points per game.
Allen Iverson scored 33 points in the loss to San Antonio for the Nuggets, who
have dropped six of their last seven games overall. Earl Boykins netted 18,
and Marcus Camby added nine points and 16 boards in defeat.
The Nuggets are 3-7 with Iverson, who was acquired in a blockbuster trade with
Philadelphia in December, in the lineup.
Denver is 10-9 at home this season. The Nuggets will visit the Portland Trail
Blazers on Sunday at the Rose Garden.
This is the first meeting of the season between the Rockets and Nuggets.
The Rockets have won two of their last three contests at Denver. Houston has
won two in a row and four of the last six meetings in this series.