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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.

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Rockets never lead in 133-112 home loss to Denver

POSTED: March 1, 2023 -- 10:15 a.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets never tied nor led Tuesday night in a 133-112 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Houston (13-48) has lost 10 in a row while Denver (44-19) has won six of its past seven games.

"We took care of business," Michael Malone, Nuggets Head Coach said after the game. "We did what we're supposed to do."

The Nuggets scored the first 5 points in the game and never looked back. Despite shooting 54.5% (12 for 22) in the first quarter, the Rockets trailed Denver 41-30 at the end of the quarter because the Nuggets shot 65.4% (17 for 24).

Nuggets' guard Jamal Murray scored 16 points in the opening quarter. Murray made 6 of 10 field goals including 3 for 6 from three-point range.

Bruce Brown, whose known more for his defense than his offense, scored 8 points off the bench on perfect 3 for 3 field goals (2 for 2 threes).

Nikola Jokic had 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in the first quarter.

KJ Martin led the Rockets with 9 points in the first. Daishen Nix was next with 7 points.

Houston's offense cooled in the second quarter while Denver's offense continued to radiate. The Rockets trailed by as much as 20 in the second stanza and trailed 74-54 at halftime.

The Rockets trailed by as much as 26 (and didn't get closer than 19) in the third quarter.

Boban Marjanovic was a highlight for Rockets' fans in the fourth quarter. Boban scored 8 points (3 for 4 field goals, 2 for 2 free throws) in 5 minutes. Josh Christopher added 7 points in his 12 fourth quarter minutes.

Jokic wasn't needed in the fourth quarter. His night was done after three quarters; but, he still posted the 100th triple-double of his stellar NBA career. The Joker finished the game with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Jokic becomes the sixth player to have recorded at least 100 career triple-doubles, joining Russell Westbrook (198), Oscar Robertson (181), Magic Johnson (138), Jason Kidd (107) and LeBron James (106).

Denver has won the past 28 games in which Jokic has recorded a triple-double going back to February of last season. He's averaging 24.6 ppg, 11.7 rpg and 10.0 apg overall this season.

"Speaks to his greatness," Coach Malone said of Jokic's triple-double accomplishment.

Jalen Green, in his first game back since a groin strain, scored 17 points in 19 minutes. Green made 7 of 15 field goals and dished out 5 assists.

"I was excited to get back on the court," Green said in the locker room after the game. "I think I missed like a week of something and All-Star; so, it just felt good to get back out there."

KJ Martin scored 15 points in the game.

"I felt like we could have been more physical", Martin said after the game.

Rockets' rookie forward Tari Eason had 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for his second straight double-double and his sixth of the season.

"He's been playing hard," Martin said of Eason. "I told him don't worry about nothing else but coming in and playing hard."

Rockets' point guard Daishen Nix made his six start and had 14 points and 5 assists. Nix has scored in double-figures in consecutive games for the first time in his career.


The Rockets' next game is Wednesday, March 1, at home, against the Memphis Grizzlies. Tip is set for 7 p.m. Central Time.


Kevin Porter Jr (left foot contusion) and Jae'Sean Tate (right ankle, injury management) are expected to be available for Wednesday's game against the Grizzlies.

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