Monday, November 01, 2004

DerMarr Stars Down the Stretch

From NBA.com

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.

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