NBA: DeMarcus Cousins puts up 31, Nuggets blast Rockets | Inquirer Sports

NBA: DeMarcus Cousins puts up 31, Nuggets blast Rockets

/ 01:06 PM March 05, 2022
demarcus cousins nuggets

DeMarcus Cousins #4 of the Denver Nuggets plays the Oklahoma City Thunder at Ball Arena on March 02, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

DeMarcus Cousins produced a season-high 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the host Denver Nuggets beat the Houston Rockets 116-101 on Friday night.

Jeff Green and JaMychal Green scored 14 points each for Denver, which played without reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic (non-COVID illness).

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Aaron Gordon had 12 points, Bones Hyland and Will Barton added 11 apiece and Monte Morris scored 10 to help the Nuggets win for the seventh time in eight games. Barton hit two 3-pointers to give him 769 in his Denver career, passing J.R. Smith (768) for the franchise record.

Christian Wood had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Jalen Green scored 18 for the Rockets, who took their 12th straight loss. Alperen Sengun finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, Eric Gordon also scored 11 and Jae’Sean Tate finished with 10 points.

Barton went a combined 0-for-14 from beyond the arc in the two games prior to Friday and then missed his first four 3-point attempts against Houston. He tied Smith with 3:31 left in the third quarter and 44 seconds later set the Denver record.

The Rockets led by one after the first quarter but the Nuggets went up 51-36 on a 3-pointer from Jeff Green with 3:10 left in the second quarter. Houston scored the last 10 points of the half to trail just 51-46 at intermission.

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Cousins scored Denver’s first six points of the third quarter, and the Nuggets soon built a double-digit lead. Jalen Green sank a 3-pointer and Kevin Porter Jr. hit a jumper to pull the Rockets within 62-55 with 7:09 left in the third, but Denver started to pull away.

Morris hit a step-back 15-footer, Aaron Gordon dunked, Jeff Green converted two free throws and Barton added a basket to make it 74-59. Porter hit one from deep but Barton answered with his two 3-pointers to start another Nuggets run to finish out the quarter, and they headed to the fourth ahead 87-70.

Houston’s Kenyon Martin Jr. and Eric Gordon hit 3-pointers to get within 13 and force a Denver timeout. Cousins made two free throws and a dunk and Hyland drained a 3-pointer to push the Nuggets’ lead to 96-78, and the hosts closed it out.

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