Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 11/27

Game 1: Saturday, November 27th
Game 2: Sunday, January 9th
Game 3: Saturday, April 16th

Nuggets 82

(7-6, 1-3 away)

Rockets 76

(6-9, 2-4 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:30 PM ET, November 27, 2004

    Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 25 21 20 1682
    HOU 13 21 22 2076

    Top Performers

    Den: A. Miller 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Hou: S. Padgett 14 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast

    Houston loses third in a row; Melo sprains ankle

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Denver coach Jeff Bdzelik thinks he might have solved the Denver Nuggets' offensive problems in the first quarter of games.

    "I saw where we were minus-6 in first-quarter play," Bdzelik said. "We got them out there early tonight and got a good sweat going, so they were ready from the opening tap."

    Andre Miller scored 20 points, Kenyon Martin 19 and the Nuggets used a big run in the opening quarter to win their first road game, 82-76 over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

    Midway through the first quarter, the Nuggets went on an 11-0 run to take a 19-7 lead. Their lead got to 25-11 before settling for a 25-13 advantage at the end of the period.

    The Nuggets had a scare in the third quarter when Carmelo Anthony sprained his right ankle. He hit the floor hard on a foul by Bob Sura with 2:21 left in the period and stayed down for several minutes before being helped off the floor.

    X-rays were negative and Anthony is day-to-day.

    At the start of the game, the Nuggets questioned if the height of the goal they started out on was correct and tipoff was briefly delayed while officials measured it.

    Then, referee Mike Callahan came to the side and told the official scorer, "We're playing the game with the baskets like this," and the game was started.

    Denver then missed its first seven shots from the field, but Houston was equally inept and missed its first five and made two quick turnovers.

    "We tried to run them and tire them out," Denver's Marcus Camby said.

    The Nuggets outrebounded Houston 47-37.

    "We have been outrebounded in all but three games and we made a conscious effort to turn that around," Bzdelik said. "We knew that couldn't continue. We made a big effort."

    Tracy McGrady and Scott Padgett each had 14 points for Houston, which lost its third in a row. Yao Ming had only eight points and six rebounds.

    "Our rebounding has been a concern for a long time," said Jeff Van Gundy, pointing out that Houston is 1-8 when outrebounded this season. "We're obviously not pursuing the ball as we should. The coach should have the team playing with energy and passion and obviously I don't have them doing that."

    Yao agreed.

    "I think I did a bad job," he said. "I was waiting for the rebounds to come to me and I have to go get them."

    McGrady had no excuses.

    "We're having slow starts and then trying to fight back at the end," McGrady said. "We come back like fighting dogs, but it's just not enough. Some how, some way, we've got to come out with greater intensity from the start of games."

    Denver missed 12 of its first 14 shots in the fourth quarter, allowing Houston to pull back to within 72-69 with 5:15 to play. But Camby had a three-point play, Greg Buckner hit four free throws and Martin hit a big fadeaway jumper with 2:04 to play to increase the lead to 81-72.

    Sura, activated from the injured list before the game, and Jim Jackson each missed 3-pointers in the final minute. Martin hit a free throw with 7 seconds left as the Nuggets held on for the win -- their first in four road games.

    Denver scored 10 unanswered points to take a 37-22 lead with 4:30 left in the first half. The Nuggets led 46-34 at halftime as the Rockets were held to season lows for points in the first quarter and first half.

    Game notes

    The Rockets placed guard Charlie Ward on the injured list with a bruised right knee to make room for Sura, who had been out all year after undergoing corrective surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back Sept. 1. Sura saw his first action when he came in with 5:56 to play in the second quarter. ... Martin fell hard on his back trying for a rebound in the second quarter and had to briefly leave the game at 7:28, but returned a short time later. ... Nene received an offensive foul when he tried to drive and ran into Scott Padgett, who received a bloody nose in the second quarter. He left and the game had to be stopped to clean blood off the floor. Padgett returned in the third quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 76
    FGM-FGA 32-76 (.421) 27-67 (.403)
    3PM-3PA 2-5 (.400) 5-19 (.263)
    FTM-FTA 16-29 (.552) 17-19 (.895)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-47 5-37
    Assists 20 23
    Turnovers 12 17
    Steals 10 3
    Blocks 1 3
    Fast Break Points 4 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 26 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Andre Miller Miller
    Points: 20
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Scott Padgett Padgett
    Points: 14
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0