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Nuggets 123, Rockets 116

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DENVER — Guard Randy Foye had 30 points and 15 assists, forward Kenneth Faried scored 22 and the Denver Nuggets never trailed in beating the Houston Rockets 123-116 on Wednesday night.

Center Timofey Mozgov had 22 points for the Nuggets, which clinched a winning record at home.

The Rockets rallied Sunday to beat the Nuggets in an overtime thriller in Houston, and they nearly did it again Wednesday. Denver led by 22 early in the fourth, but a 3-pointer by guard Troy Daniels with 3:01 remaining made it 118-112.

A steal and a layup cut it to four with 2:24 left, but Foye’s high bank shot ended the threat.

Guard Jeremy Lin had 18 points and forward Chandler Parsons scored 16 for Houston, which had its three-game winning streak stopped.

The Rockets are trying to secure homecourt advantage in the first round against either Portland or Golden State.

Wednesday’s loss left them two games ahead of the Trail Blazers and three in front of the Warriors with four left.

More important to Houston is getting healthy before the playoffs. Center Dwight Howard and guard Patrick Beverley were held out again because of injuries, and then the Rockets got a scare when guard James Harden had to leave the game in the third with a lower left leg injury. He was hurt when he was fouled on a drive to the basket with 7:48 left in the third, and after hitting the two free throws he went to the locker room.

He returned late in the third with a wrap around his left calf and shin but sat out the fourth quarter.

The Rockets trailed by just five with 4:58 left in the third quarter but Denver, led by Foye, finished the period on a 23-11 run to take a 105-88 lead into the fourth.

Foye was 7-for-7 from the field, including four 3-pointers in the third. He had 11 assists in the first half.

It was a strong performance for a Denver team playing out the string for the first time in 11 years.

Without guard Ty Lawson, the team’s leading scorer, the Nuggets were able to jump on top of the Rockets early. Denver held Houston to 26 percent shooting in the first quarter and led by as many as 19.

Lin had all 18 of his points in the second quarter to help the Rockets pull to within five at one point but Mozgov’s dunk gave Denver a 68-58 lead at halftime.

NOTES: Houston C Dwight Howard and G Patrick Beverley each missed their seventh straight game. Howard is out with a left ankle sprain, and Beverley has a right knee strain. Both are close to returning. … Nuggets G Ty Lawson missed his second game in a row due to a left ankle sprain, while F Wilson Chandler missed his 10th game in the past 11 because of a strained left groin. Denver coach Brian Shaw said he wants both players to return before the season ends in a week. … The Rockets recalled F Robert Covington and G Troy Daniels from the NBA Development League. Coach Kevin McHale said both would accompany the team to Minnesota for Friday’s game against the Timberwolves.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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