The Houston Rockets did something Monday night not many teams have been able to do… they beat Denver in Denver 108-103. To top it off, Houston also overcame Carmelo’s Anthony career-high 50 points and quite possibly his best game of the season.
How did Houston win, you say? Just ask Kevin Martin, or Luis Scola, or really any player on the Nuggets team. Kevin Martin nearly went shot for shot with Carmelo Anthony all game long. Off to a slow one for six shooting slump, Martin only managed to put up five first half points. Don’t worry, Martin came soaring back with a monstrous 32 second half points. Throw in a pedestrian 25 points, and 8 rebounds for Luis Scola and you have the Houston Rockets offense (this scoring duo has been quite the trend lately). Who would have thought Scola and Martin would have once again combined for 60+ points having started out 3-11 from the field? Not to be overlooked were solid performances by Budinger and Hayes, finishing with a combined 23 points. So if you had the over on Chuck Hayes scoring in double figures, congratulations!
The ultimate momentum swing came mid-third quarter when Kevin Martin’s great play sparked a 13-0 Houston run culminating in a Rockets 71-56 lead. Sparked by a Martin layup and concluded with another Martin layup, the energy was removed from the Pepsi Center.
Not to be outdone, Melo also threw up 32 points in the final two quarters of play. However, he didn’t have nearly the support as Kevin Martin. In fact, when Melo throws up 50 points, it is only logical the Nuggets starters combined for more than 75. Well, that would be an unwise assumption. Lets see: Billups 5 points, Afflalo 4 points, Kenyon Martin 6 points, and Al Harrington rounding it out with 10 points of his own. Unless you have Lebron James as your sixth man, this won’t translate into wins. This seems to be the case more often then not. When one player is playing so spectacular, it is only human to stand around and observe his greatness. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, everybody (but Ty Lawson) couldn’t take their eyes off Carmelo. Could this be Melo’s last home game in Denver? You never know, talks between the Knicks, T-Wolves, and Nuggets are heating up.
With this win, Houston improves their record to 25-28 and extends their winning streak up to three games. As rough of a season it’s been for Rockets fans, they still find themselves only 3.5 games back of a playoff berth. Houston begins a four game home stand over the next two weeks in hopes of making up ground in the Western Conference playoff race.
On a closing note: Aaron Brooks didn’t play in this game as he was serving his team-mandated one-game suspension. This suspension came off a frustrated Brooks walking off the court during the game vs. Memphis last night. Uh Oh! Do I smell trade bait? What team wouldn’t want an extra sharpshooting point guard? Definitely look for Brooks’ name to be in the discussions of many trade talks come trade deadline.