Nikola Jokic scored a season-high 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Rockets 105-95 on Wednesday night, ending Houston's eight-game winning streak.
Will Barton had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Paul Millsap scored 11 points for Denver, which had all five starters finish in double figures en route to its seventh win in eight games.
James Harden had 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, Russell Westbrook added 25 points, and Clint Capela scored 12 points and pulled down a season-high 21 rebounds for Houston.
The Rockets, who finished with 21 turnovers, were held to under 100 points for the first time this season.
Westbrook hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to get Houston within 84-76, but the Nuggets went on another run to take control.
Juancho Hernangomez and Torrey Craig hit layups, and after a turnover led to another Westbrook basket, two straight Rockets turnovers led to Craig's reverse dunk and a Monte Morris layup for Denver and a 92-78 lead with 7:39 left.
A layup by Millsap, a put-back from Jokic and another layup from Craig gave the Nuggets an 18-point lead with 2:46 remaining.
Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni took out Harden and Westbrook, and the Nuggets were able to close it out.
Denver led 61-59 early in the third quarter but opened up a double-digit advantage. Seven straight points pushed the lead to nine, and after Harden hit his third 3-pointer, Millsap got a basket, Jamal Murray scored on a finger roll, and Jokic hit a 3-pointer and had a put-back to make it 77-62 with 3:02 left in the quarter.
Houston went on a 9-2 run, and the deficit was 82-73 heading into the fourth.
Both teams had big runs early, with Houston scoring 13 in a row and Denver responding with a 15-point run. The Nuggets built their biggest lead of the half on a floater by Jokic, who had 15 points in the first half.
Harden kept the Rockets in it with 18 first-half points, and Westbrook had 14.
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