Jalen Green scored 32 points, Alperen Sengun had 20 points and 10 rebounds and the host Houston Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 124-103 on Tuesday night.
Kevin Porter Jr. also scored 20 points, Jabari Smith Jr. had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Kenyon Martin Jr. scored 12 points, Tari Eason added 11 and Josh Christopher finished with 10 for the Rockets (20-60).
Michael Porter Jr. scored 23 points for the Nuggets (52-27), who failed to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference. Nikola Jokic had 14 points and 10 rebounds in his return to the lineup after missing three games with right calf tightness. He committed eight of Denver’s 20 turnovers, and Porter hit just 6 of 15 3-point attempts.
Aaron Gordon had 13 points and nine rebounds and Peyton Watson added 10 points for Denver, which lost Jamal Murray to a sprained right thumb in the first half.
Houston led by a point after the first quarter, but the Nuggets opened the second on a 13-2 run, capped by DeAndre Jordan’s 14-foot jumper, to lead 43-33. The Rockets rallied to cut the deficit to 59-56 at intermission.
Houston put together a 12-2 run early in the third quarter to go ahead 71-67. Denver tied it at 76 on a 3-pointer by Reggie Jackson and then went up by three on Porter’s 26-footer.
The Rockets took an 86-85 lead into the fourth and then stretched the advantage early in the final period. Martin hit a layup, Green made two free throws and Christopher’s pull-up jumper made it 94-89 and forced a Nuggets timeout.
Green made two more free throws, Eason hit a layup and Christopher had a steal and a dunk to make it 100-89. After Green hit another jumper, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 3-pointer broke Denver’s drought.
Denver had a chance to get closer, but Caldwell-Pope turned it over, leading to a dunk by Eason. Christopher split a pair of free throws and Eason had another steal and dunk to make it 107-94.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone pulled the starters with 5:33 left as the Rockets continued to pull away.
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