Rockets rally for 130-125 OT win over Denver Nuggets
AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON — Houston’s Chandler Parsons was having a tough night and it seemed as if his shots would never fall.
Fortunately for him and the Rockets, he was able to turn things around when it mattered most.
James Harden had 32 points and Parsons scored eight points in overtime to lift the Rockets to a 130-125 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.
Denver led by one in overtime when Houston made three consecutive 3-pointers to make it 130-122 with less than two minutes left. Parsons made the last two and high-fived with fans on the front row as he ran down the court after sinking the second one.
Parsons, who played in college at Florida, joked that he might have had a difficult game on Sunday because he was still smarting from seeing the No. 1 overall seed Gators lose to Connecticut in the Final Four a night before.
“It was just one of those games where I couldn’t get anything going,” he said. “(I was) still probably upset about the Florida game last night, I guess … I was just glad I could knock those shots down when they mattered.”
Houston had a franchise-record, 47-point second quarter, but Denver overcame a 17-point halftime deficit to tie it at 88 entering the fourth period.
Harden was disappointed the Rockets let their big lead slip away.
“We didn’t quit,” he said. “We shouldn’t have even put ourselves in that situation. The last four minutes of the game we played the way we should have played in the third quarter.”
The Rockets then trailed by eight late in regulation before using a 9-1 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Harden under heavy pressure from Randy Foye, to tie it at 117 with 7.1 seconds remaining.
Foye made one of two free throws for Denver before Harden’s shot. Foye had a chance to win it in regulation, but his jump shot was short.
“We basically gave it to them,” Foye said. “We tried to come out and be the spoiler … but we had some turnovers at the end and a lot of things went their way at the end.”
Evan Fournier scored 26 points and Aaron Brooks added 24 points and 15 assists against his former team. Brooks, who was traded to Denver on Feb. 20 for Jordan Hamilton, started for Ty Lawson, who was out with a left ankle sprain.
The game was still tied with about nine minutes to go when the Nuggets scored 11 straight points to make it 106-95 midway through the quarter. Fournier made two 3-pointers in that span and Brooks had one.
“There will be a lot of teaching points and things we can learn when we look at film,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “It’s hard to let one like that get away.”
Jeremy Lin scored 19 points, Omer Asik had a season-high 18 points and tied a career best with 23 rebounds, and Parsons finished with 15 points.
“One thing we’ve had a problem with all season long is giving up leads,” Lin said. “To be able to come back and win that shows a lot of grit.”
Quincy Miller scored a career-high 19 for the Nuggets and Kenneth Faried added 16 points with 13 rebounds.
The Rockets, who have already clinched a playoff spot, were playing without Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley, who both missed their fifth straight games. Howard has missed eight games recently because of a left ankle strain and Beverley is out indefinitely with a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Houston was ahead by 15 when Denver took over, using a 13-2 spurt to get within 79-75 with four minutes left in the third. Miller led the Nuggets in that span, scoring the first seven points of that run. Houston missed three shots and had three turnovers as Denver cut into the lead.
A 14-4 run by the Rockets to start the second quarter gave them a 36-31 lead. Omri Casspi and Isaiah Canaan both made 3-pointers in that stretch. Brooks made a layup after that before Casspi hit another 3-pointer to make it 39-33 with about eight minutes left in the first half.
The Nuggets got within a basket after a jump shot by Brooks about 2 ½ minutes later. But Houston responded with a 9-2 run, powered by five points from Harden, to extend the lead to 52-44.
Lin had seven points in the last 42 seconds of the first half, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, to push Houston’s lead to 69-52 at halftime.
NOTES: The Nuggets made 14 3-pointers, with six from Fournier. … Canaan had a career-best 15 points.
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