The Denver Nuggets (34-44) took advantage of a lethargic Houston Rockets (52-26) team in a 123-116 win Wednesday at The Pepsi Center.
Kenneth Faried kick started Denver's fast break in the first quarter by repeatedly beating Terrence Jones up and down the floor. He finished with 23 points and nine rebounds.
Randy Foye put the game away in the third quarter, scoring 22 points on 7-of-7 shooting. He finished the game with 30 points and 15 assists.
Three other Nuggets reached double-figures, including 22 for Timofey Mozgov.
The Rockets struggled out of the gate, perhaps thanks to their arriving at their Denver hotel at 4 a.m. that morning.
The starters looked out of rhythm all night. James Harden particularly struggled, going 1-of-9 shooting and finishing with just 10 points.
Jeremy Lin kept the Rockets within scoring distance in the second quarter, and finished with 18 points.
The story for Houston was D-League call-ups Troy Daniels and Robert Covington. The Rockets trailed 105-88 going into the fourth quarter. Coach Kevin McHale appeared to wave the white flag by inserting Covington and Daniels—who were called up today—into the game early in the fourth quarter.
Daniels hit 4-of-6 three-point attempts and led a charge that cut the lead all the way to four with two minutes left in the game.
The comeback fell just short as Brian Shaw put a couple starters back in the game, including Foye, who iced the game with a nice bank shot over two Rockets.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.