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Rockets stay hot, edge Nuggets

Mar 10, 2009 - 4:57 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Ron Artest scored 22 points and Aaron Brooks added 19 as the Houston Rockets posted a 97-95 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday.

Yao Ming chipped in 15 points for the Rockets, who have won five of their last six games and 11 of 13.

"Obviously this is a great road win for us," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "I thought we had it put away a couple times and they came back at us. We didn't play very smart down the stretch but we did get the win."

Houston, which used a 15-0 run in the third quarter, led by as many as 19 before taking a 74-62 advantage into the fourth.

Carmelo Anthony's 3-pointer brought the Nuggets within 76-69 early in the fourth but Denver was never able to overtake Houston.

Denver stayed close and came within four, but Shane Battier connected on a 3-pointer from the left corner to give Houston a 92-85 lead with 1:02 to play.

"It was a huge three," Adelman said. "When he takes it, he has such a history of making those shots. If we can get him untracked it will really help us. He does so many little things for us that he has to be on the court."

The Nuggets answered with the next five points and, after Brooks made one of two from the line, had a chance to tie - down 93-90 with 21 seconds on the clock.

However, Chauncey Billups missed a tough driving layup and Kyle Lowry hit a pair from the line with 14 seconds to play, essentially sealing Houston's win.

"Down the stretch we fought, we scrapped, did the things we were supposed to do," Billups said. "If we could just put four quarters together like that we won't have a problem."

Billups scored 28 points and Anthony finished with 21 to pace Denver, which shot 38 percent (32-of-74) en route to its fifth loss in six games.

"I thought when we got down 19 we showed a lot of heart and commitment to come back," Denver coach George Karl said. "We are a little fatigued and have lost some of our confidence."

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    Rockets 92, Nuggets 88  4th - 0:54Mar 9 11:24 PM
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    Rockets 83, Nuggets 78  4th - 4:00Mar 9 11:10 PM

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