DENVER – Nikola Jokic blocked J’Sean Tate’s drive into the basket as time ran out and the short-handed Denver Nuggets ran away with a 95-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
In the absence of forward Michael Porter Jr., Jokic finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds.
Porter left the game in the first quarter with 4:50 remaining and the team did not return due to lower back pain. Porter missed a fast-break lay-up early in the game and awkwardly came on the court. He was in the game for more than four minutes before leaving.
Aaron Gordon had nine points, including a pair of corner 3-pointers, his last point with 51.4 seconds to give Denver the lead.
The Nuggets had a chance to go up three but PJ Dozier missed a shot with 12.8. The Rockets ran down the court and found the ball to Tate, who ran the baseline and headed for the potential winning basket but was stopped by Jokic.
On October 30, Jokic also got a last-second block in Minnesota to maintain the win against the Timberwolves.
Christian Wood had 12 points and 17 rebounds, and Daniel Theis scored 18 points in his return to the lineup. Thies’s 3-pointer from the top of the circle gave the Rockets a 2:44 lead of 94-89.
The Rockets led eight in the first half and 47-46 at the break. The Nuggets advanced on Will Barton’s dunk and extended the lead to six in the middle of the third quarter. Despite 12 points and seven rebounds from Jokic in third, Houston was trailing just 72–71 in fourth.
Rockets: Coach Stephen Silas said Daniel House Jr. could return to the lineup against Golden State on Sunday night. He has missed the last five matches due to a sprain in his right leg. … Theis had missed two games with pain in his right big toe.
Nuggets: Barton had 15 points, the only Denver player in double digits. The Nuggets have won six straight home games against Houston and five straight games overall.
Rocket: In the Golden State on Sunday night.
The Nuggets: Host Miami on Monday nights.