Monday, November 29, 2004

Anthony Injured; Nuggets Win


Back-to-back games can be beneficial when you're trying to put a bad one behind you. The Denver Nuggets did exactly that when they outran and outrebounded the Houston Rockets for an 82-76 victory.

"We played a horrible game last night (an 89-75 home loss to San Antonio) and came back with a lot of energy," said guard Andre Miller, who led the Nuggets with 20 points and seven assists.

Kenyon Martin had 19 points and 13 rebounds and Marcus Camby added 13 and 14 as they outplayed Rockets All-Star center Yao Ming, who managed just eight points and six rebounds.

"We wanted to try to run him, tire him out," Camby said. "His stamina is not the best. He's a big guy carrying a lot of weight. Once his stamina gets up to speed, he's going to be dominant."

"I think I did a bad job," Yao said. "I was waiting for the rebounds to come to me. I hope this is the most frustrating I've been in my life. I hope there's no more frustration."

The Nuggets have won five of their last six games and play their next four at home, where they recently went 4-1 in a five-game stretch.

The Nuggets used an 11-0 run in the first quarter, sparked by Miller and Carmelo Anthony, to take a 19-7 lead they never relinquished.

"We were disappointed in our effort (Friday night), our inability to play well," Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "We made sure we went out early (tonight) to warm up, so we had a good sweat going. Our starts have not been good."

Camby knew the running game was the key to beating the plodding Rockets as well as wearing down Yao.

"This team doesn't like to go up and down," Camby said. "I played for Jeff (Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy in New York). I know how good his defense can be once they get set up."

The Nuggets didn't give them a chance, even though they lost Anthony to a sprained right ankle with 2:21 left in the third quarter while leading, 62-48. He was helped to the locker room, where X-rays were negative. He is listed as day-to-day.

Rockets guard Bob Sura wrapped up Anthony to prevent an easy layup and the two fell to the ground.

"It looked like the hard foul carried into Sura trying to prevent (Anthony) from getting hurt and they got tangled up," Bzdelik said. "I don't think it was a flagrant act on anyone's part."

"It should have been more than just a personal," Martin said. "Who am I to say?"

Martin said plenty with the way he played, particularly for someone who had been bothered by a chest cold. He played only six minutes and failed to score in the loss to San Antonio.

"I feel better today," he said. "I got some rest, got some medicine in me, some fluids."

"I ran into Kenyon's mom at lunch and told her to go get some chicken soup and deliver it to Kenyon," Bzdelik said with a laugh.

Martin's mother, Lydia Moore, saw the former New Jersey Net play for the first time in person as a Nugget.

"Mom brought me a little love from Dallas," Martin said. "She (has) been a little under the weather."

The Nuggets outrebounded Houston 19-5 in the first quarter, including 7-0 on the offensive board, and led 25-13 after one period.

The Rockets lost their third in a row and scored a season-low 76 points, despite getting a lift from Sura and Scott Padgett, who scored a season-high 14, half of them in the fourth quarter.

Sura, activated before the game, played his first contest of the season after being sidelined with a herniated disk that required lower back surgery September 21. He played 21 minutes and had six points and six assists.

"I haven't played in six or seven months," Sura said "But considering that, I feel like it went all right. I feel like I brought some energy, some toughness and made some plays for some other guys."

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Rockets Come Up Short

Lamar Odom and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates helped coach Rudy Tomjanovich make a successful return against his former team.

Odom had 20 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to help the Lakers hold on for an 84-79 victory over the shorthanded Houston Rockets.

"I'm just glad it's over," an emotional Tomjanovich said. "Next time it will be just another game."

The Rockets honored Tomjanovich before the game with a video tribute. General manager Carroll Dawson, his former assistant, presented him with a framed painting of Tomjanovich coaching, his arms raised in triumph.

"The last time I talked to the public (in Houston) was a sad day for me," said Tomjanovich, who announced his retirement after the 2002 season due to bladder cancer. "I know in my heart you helped me beat cancer."

Tomjanovich spent 34 seasons with the Rockets as a player, scout, assistant, coach and a consultant last season, his final one in Houston.

"Sometimes I take a step back and say this is amazing," he said. "It's like a fairy tale. It was very emotional (tonight). This was great. I feel that every time I walk around Houston, people are so great to me."

Tomjanovich's No. 45 jersey hangs from the rafters, along with the two NBA championship banners that he guided the team to in 1994 and 1995.

"That was special," Lakers forward Caron Butler said. "(Rudy) was happy to be here. The crowd was unbelievable. It tells you a lot about him and the city of Houston.

"Rudy's a passionate guy," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant added. "He's a part of the game. It feels like he's part of the group. He listens to everybody's opinion."

Playing on a sore left foot, Bryant made just 7-for-20 shots but had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

"It was pretty sore tonight, for whatever reason," he said. "Tonight was one of the games I had to turn it up. I got great support from Lamar."

Acquired from Miami in the Shaquille O'Neal trade, Odom made 1-of-2 free throws with 19 seconds left to give the Lakers an 82-79 lead.

"We knew how much it meant to him," Odom said. "We let the other team back in it. But we played a really good defensive game.

The Lakers led 47-35 at halftime and Bryant scored LA's first nine points of the second half, part of an 12-2 run that opened a 59-37 bulge.

The Rockets rallied to take the lead at 76-75 with 5 1/2 minutes left on a 3-pointer by Tyronn Lue, his only basket of the game. But Chucky Atkins scored five points to help the Lakers reclaim an 81-78 edge.

With leading scorer Tracy McGrady sitting out his second straight game with a strained right hip, the Rockets received nearly all their offense from Yao Ming, who scored 32 points on 11-for-21 shooting. But Yao missed a dunk with 58 seconds left that would have made it a one-point game and 1-of-2 free throws with 25 seconds to go.

"His scoring was great," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "Obviously we need him to make the free throws down the stretch and rebound the ball better."

Monday, November 01, 2004

DerMarr Stars Down the Stretch


HOUSTON, Oct. 28 (Ticker) -- DerMarr Johnson came off the bench to hit a pair of key 3-pointers in the closing minutes as the Dener Nuggets rallied for a 93-88 victory over the Houston Rockets, their fifth straight postseason win.

With the win, Denver improved to 6-1 in the preseason with a trip to Indiana on Friday. Houston played without All-Star Yao Ming, who underwent an MRI on Thursday that revealed ligament damage in his elbow.

Johnson, who signed with the Nuggets in the offseason and averaged 10.7 points in three preseason contests, hit a 3-pointer with 1:40 left to give Denver the lead for good, 87-86. After a layup by Houston's Tracy McGrady, Johnson hit a second shot from the arc with 37 seconds remaining for a 92-88 edge.

The Nuggets outscored Houston 26-18 in the final period, ending the game on a 9-2 run.

Voshon Lenard was 3-of-4 from 3-point range and scored 13 points for Denver, as did newly acquired Kenyon Martin. Andre Miller and Carmelo Anthony chipped in 12 apiece.

Anthony beat the buzzer in the third quarter with a jumper that helped start the Nuggets' late rally.

McGrady and Jim Jackson both scored 18 points and Juwan Howard added 16 in just 19 minutes off the bench for the Rockets. Clarence Weatherspoon pulled down 13 rebounds as Houston outrebounded Denver 44-34.

The Rockets finished their preseason schedule at 3-4, dropping their last three games. They open the regular season with a visit to the defending champion Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.