Nuggets sweep home-and-home with RocketsApr 17, 2012 - 5:55 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Arron Afflalo scored 26 points, Ty Lawson dropped in 25 and the Denver Nuggets gained some cushion over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference standings with a 105-102 victory at Toyota Center.
Al Harrington added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets, who took both portions of a home-and home series to take a two-game lead over the Rockets for the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
"We didn't win anything tonight but it's putting us in a good position," said Denver head coach George Karl. "As long as we keep winning on our own court we'll keep rolling along."
Chandler Parsons and Goran Dragic each netted 21 points to pace Houston, which has lost its last four games to fall to just a half-game ahead of Phoenix for the eight and final playoff spot in the West.
The Suns are currently playing Portland and can pull even with the Rockets with a win.
Denver trailed, 51-44, at the half and fell behind by as many as nine early in the third before an 18-8 run gave the Nuggets their first lead since the opening moments of the first quarter, 67-66.
The lead then changed hands six times over the final three-plus minutes of the third, with the last coming on Andre Miller's driving layup that gave Denver a 75-74 edge at the end of the third.
The back-and-forth affair continued throughout the fourth quarter, which saw five lead changes, five ties and neither team lead by more than five points.
After a pair of Luis Scola free throws gave the Rockets a 96-95 lead with three minutes left in the game, Lawson connected on a layup before dropping in two from the free-throw line to put the Nuggets on top for good, 99-96.
Parsons then scored four straight points around a Harrington layup to close the gap to 101-100 with a minute to play, but Lawson drained a three-pointer from the left corner on Denver's next touch to put the Nuggets back up by four.
Patrick Patterson quickly put in a layup at the other end to bring the Rockets within 104-102, but after Harrington's three-point attempt from almost the same spot as Lawson's was no good, Scola pulled up for a potential game-tying shot from inside the paint that rimmed out.
Afflalo then made the front end of two free throws to keep it a one-possession game with 4.6 seconds left, but Dragic's deep three as time expired bounced off the front of the rim to seal the victory for Denver.
"They got a few runs on us and they made some shots," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said about Denver. "They made some plays and got a big shot by Ty Lawson."
Neither team held a lead larger than three as the teams traded baskets over the opening six minutes of the game until Scola connected on consecutive jumpers to hand the Rockets a 16-11 lead.
Denver answered with an Afflalo three-pointer followed by a Kenneth Faried dunk to knot the game at 16 before Houston closed out the first with a 16-5 run to take a 32-21 advantage into the second quarter.
The Nuggets fought back in the second with a 20-9 push to tie the game at 41 with four minutes left, but Dragic gave the Rockets back their lead with a dunk and Houston closed out the half with a 10-3 run to hold a 51-44 advantage at the break.
Denver improved to 15-15 on the road this season, while Houston fell to 20-11 at home...Rockets center Marcus Camby missed the game due to a sore back...Scola finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in a losing effort...The game had a total of 16 lead changes and nine ties.
- DENVER: 105
Apr 16 10:27 PM
- DENVER: 75
End of 3rd
Apr 16 9:46 PM
- DENVER: 44
Apr 16 9:05 PM
- DENVER: 21
End of 1st
Apr 16 8:35 PM
- DENVER: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 16 8:12 PM
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