The Houston Roundball Review is an online basketball publication
by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

Contact Kris Gardner for details pertaining to advertising on the website; the blogs; and / or the podcasts.

Rockets end losing streak with rout of Nuggets

Posted: January 22, 2020 -- 11:59 p.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets ended a 4-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 121-105 win over the Denver Nuggets. Several key players missed the game for the Nuggets due to injury or illness; however, with the Rockets' recent struggles, a win is a win. Period.

Despite losing 4 straight games and 5 of 6, Russell Westbrook maintained a positive attitude.

"Now I know it's difficult," Westbrook acknowledge. "Sometimes, it's difficult when you're losing. When you're in a drought; when you're not shooting well; when you're not playing well; but, greater days are coming. I believe that. I truly believe that. I stay positive always. So, what's going on is – I think it's pushing us in the right direction."

Denver was without Gary Harris (left knee), Paul Millsap (left knee), Jamal Murray (left ankle sprain), Mason Plumlee (right foot); and Michael Porter Jr (back tightness). However, the healthy Denver players led the Rockets by as much as 7 points in the first quarter.

"I'm not going to use that (excuse)," Michael Malone, Denver Head Coach said of the Nuggets players who were unable to play Wednesday night. "We had enough guys to go out there and get the job done. I thought the beginning of the game, the first six minutes of the first quarter, I thought we defended really well. Last six minutes of the first quarter, was an onslaught, they shot 50 percent in that quarter."

With the scored tied at 23, Rockets big man Clint Capela finished an alley-oop slam dunk which began a 12-5 run to end the quarter for a 35-28 Houston lead after 1 quarter.

SUPPORT The Houston Roundball Review:

Purchase your Houston Rockets' gear at via this link;

Get ESPN+ via this link;

Save when you get the Disney bundle (ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu) with this link;

OR, contribute via PayPal or the Cash App.

Denver (30-14) did not get closer than 7 points in the second quarter. Houston's Eric Gordon scored the first 5 points of the quarter for the Rockets. Houston (27-16) led by as much as 20 points in the second period.

The Rockets led 60-43 at halftime. The Nuggets needed nearly six minutes into the third quarter to trim more than 3 points off the Rockets' lead. Houston led by 13 points when Russell Westbrook made 2 free throws before scoring a fast break layup to boost the margin to 17.

The Rockets led 92-71 after 3 quarters. Denver did not get closer than 16 points in the 4th quarter. P.J. Tucker (2 three-point baskets) and Eric Gordon (3 three-point baskets) combined for 5 threes in a 3 minute span for a 111-87.

Houston's largest lead (117-95) occurred three minutes later when Isaiah Hartenstein dunked off a nice bounce pass from Chris Clemons.

"They're under-manned, too", Mike D'Antoni, Rockets head coach said after the game. "So, we don't want to sit here and sing our praises. They're hurting a little bit and they have a lot of guys out; but, it's a start."

With the win tonight, the Rockets take a 2-1 lead in the season series against the Nuggets with the final game at Denver on Sunday.

"We've been at home for so long," James Harden said. "Now, we get an opportunity to go on the road against some really good teams and have a chance to play well."

The Rockets begin a 4-game road Friday, January 24, in Minnesota versus the Timberwolves. Tip is set for 7 p.m.


Russ had a game-high 28 points with 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals. The last Rocket to have posted those numbers in a single game was Hakeem Olajuwon with 29 points, 18 boards, 9 assists and 5 steals (with 11 blocks!) vs. Golden State on 3/3/90. Westbrook has led the Rocket in scoring 10 times this season, including each of the past four games. Besides Harden, no Rocket led/tied the team in scoring more than three times in 2018-19. Over his past five games played, Westbrook is averaging 31.2 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 9.8 apg and 2.4 spg while shooting 53.8% from the floor.

James Harden had 27 points on 6-of-13 shooting Wednesday night. He had 13 or fewer field goal attempts three other times this season with a high of 23 points in those games. The last time Harden scored at least 27 points with 13 or fewer shot attempts was 27 points on 13 field goal attempts vs. Minnesota on 4/12/17.

Eric Gordon had a season-high 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range. Since missing 22 games after undergoing right knee arthroscopy on 11/13, Gordon has scored 20+ points in four of his 10 games played (16.4 ppg) after not having more than 17 points in any of his nine games played prior to the procedure (10.9 ppg).

Mike D'Antoni picks up his 200th win as head coach of the Rockets (200-89 mark; .692). He joins Rudy Tomjanovich (503) and Bill Fitch (216) as the only coaches with 200+ wins in franchise history. D'Antoni moves past Flip Saunders for sole possession of the 21st-most wins in NBA history with 655.

Houston had a season-low 29 3-point attempts tonight. It is just the sixth time the Rockets have recorded fewer than 30 three-point field goal attempts under Mike D'Antoni (back to 2016-17) and the first since December 11, 2018 which snaps a 98-game streak of recording 30 or more three-point field goal attempts. The next longest streak in NBA history is 69 games by Dallas from February 2, 2019 to January 10, 2020.

CLICK HERE for The HRR's Rockets' write-ups.

Click here to Support The HRR

The HRR's YouTube Channel

Official Merchandise

Houston Roundball Review Merch

Shop at

HBCUs gear

Houston Cougars gear

Rice Owls gear

Texas A&M Aggies gear

Texas Longhorns gear

Texas Southern Tigers gear

Shop at

Houston Rockets gear

Shop at