Nikola Jokic had 16 of his game-high 32 points in a decisive third quarter and also pulled down 12 rebounds, Jamal Murray scored a season-high 31 points and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Houston Rockets 129-113 on Monday night.
Zeke Nnaji added 15 points, Bruce Brown had 12 and Ish Smith scored 10 for Denver, which has won three straight. The Nuggets played without Michael Porter Jr. (heel) and Jeff Green (knee).
Alperen Sengun scored 18 points, Jalen Green added 17, Kenyon Martin Jr. had 15 and Kevin Porter Jr. finished with 12 for the Rockets. Houston had its two-game winning streak snapped.
The two teams will play again on the same court on Wednesday night.
Denver led by two at halftime and increased the advantage to 81-73 on a 3-pointer by Jokic and a free throw from Murray early in the third quarter.
The Rockets responded quickly, with two free throws from Sengun, a floater by Green and Jabari Smith Jr.'s 3-pointer to make it 81-80.
Davon Reed drained a 3-pointer and Jokic made two buckets to push the lead to seven. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Murray made 3-pointers to give Denver a 12-point lead with 4:33 left in the third.
Houston cut the deficit to seven, but the Nuggets ended the third with a flurry. Jokic had a layup, split a pair of free throws and assisted on Brown's layup with a full-court pass. Nnaji then drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put Denver ahead 106-91.
Nnaji opened the fourth quarter with a fastbreak dunk, Ish Smith hit a jumper and a layup and then fed DeAndre Jordan for an alley-oop dunk to make it 116-96.
The Rockets shot 12-for-27 from 3-point range in the first half to stay close to Denver. The Nuggets, behind 22 points from Murray through the first 24 minutes, led by as many as seven in the half.
Murray's layup with 12.7 seconds left gave Denver a 70-68 lead at the break.
Houston attempted 44 shots from 3-point range for the game.
--Field Level Media