Billups leads Nuggets past RocketsDec 1, 2008 - 4:56 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half and added 10 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 104-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
Nene added 17 points and 10 rebounds and J.R. Smith provided a spark off the bench with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, as the Nuggets claimed their fourth win in their last five games.
Clinging to a 48-44 lead at the half, Denver came out strong after the break, pushing the lead to 72-58 with 6:05 left in the period. Billups scored 13 points during the spurt, capped off by a pair of 3-pointers.
"You have to give Billups credit," Houston head coach Rick Adelman said. "He took the game over and hit some big shots, which he is capable of doing."
The Rockets pulled to within 89-84 in the fourth, but Billups scored 10 points in the period and Smith hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left to add the final dagger.
"They saw I was open and thankfully they went in," Smith said.
"J.R. is a good/bad player," Denver head coach George Karl said. "We are trying to take the bad out and magnify the good."
Yao Ming collected 18 points and 11 rebounds for Houston, which was without guard Tracy McGrady for the third straight game due to a sore left knee.
"Defensively we have an attitude at the end of games that people aren't going to score on us," Karl said.
The game was not entirely without bad news for the Nuggets, who lost star forward Carmelo Anthony for the rest of the game with 2:13 left in the second quarter due to a right elbow contusion.
He is listed as day-to-day.
Denver benefited from strong inside play on Sunday, blocking 14 shots and winning the battle of the boards, 42-38. Chris Anderson blocked five shots and grabbed six rebounds off the bench and Kenyon Martin swatted away four shots to go along with his 15 points.
Houston stayed in with some sharp shooting from beyond the arc (10-of-20) and from the free-throw line (22-of-26). Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry combined for 29 points off the bench for the Rockets.
DENVER 104 FINAL
Nov 30 10:22 PM
DENVER 78 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 30 9:46 PM
DENVER 48 HALFTIME
Nov 30 9:06 PM
DENVER 21 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 30 8:36 PM
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