NBA regular season

Rockets’ win streak at 6 after knocking off Nuggets


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Rockets’ win streak at 6 after knocking off Nuggets

POST. Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28) looks to pass against Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) in the second quarter at Toyota Center.

Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Led by Fred VanVleet and Alperen Sengun, the Rockets survive the fourth triple-double of the season of Nuggets star Nikola Jokic to extend their winning streak

Fred VanVleet scored a season-high 26 points, Alperen Sengun added 23, and the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to six with a 107-104 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Sunday, November 12 (Monday, November 13, Manila time).

The Rockets rode timely contributions from reserves Jeff Green, Tari Eason, and Jae’Sean Tate to keep their winning streak intact. Eason drilled a pair of corner three-pointers early in the fourth quarter, his first providing Houston a 79-76 lead – its first advantage since the second period.

Green (15 points) added two three-pointers in the final frame and three free throws, including one after Tate stole an inbound pass with 11 seconds remaining and the Rockets leading 105-102.

Houston recorded 31 bench points to complement VanVleet and Sengun, who added 8 rebounds and 5 assists to his ledger in a riveting battle with superstar center Nikola Jokic, who posted his fourth triple-double of the season with 36 points, 21 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Jokic followed a three-pointer by Reggie Jackson (14 points) with one of his own with 18.2 seconds left that cut the deficit to 103-102. VanVleet sank two free throws after.

Michael Porter Jr. (25 points, 10 rebounds) posted a double-double for the Nuggets. Aaron Gordon chipped in 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Jokic was an unrelenting force in the opening period. Sengun attempted to take the fight to the two-time MVP, but Jokic got rolling midway through the first quarter and closed the period with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting plus 5 rebounds and 3 assists. With Jokic as their fulcrum, the Nuggets shot 54.5% from the floor while connecting on two of four three-pointers and four of five free throws.

But when Jokic sat late in the first, the Rockets fashioned a comeback from their nine-point deficit.

Houston turned a 10-0 spurt into a 31-30 lead via a Jabari Smith Jr. 10-footer, and the Nuggets needed Jokic to return to action in order to reclaim control.

Porter, with nine second-quarter points, was integral as well, but when Jokic made a layup through a Dillon Brooks foul and converted the subsequent free throw, Denver led 50-43 with 1:02 left in the half. –

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