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."
Monday, November 29, 2004
Anthony Injured; Nuggets Win
Posted by SloMo at 2:34 PM