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The Nuggets went 15 for 16 from the free throw line in the second quarter, and the Rockets said that disrupted their offensive rhythm.
"We are a better team than that," Brooks said. "When we gave up 12 fouls in the second quarter, that slowed us down a lot."
The Rockets shot 49 percent in the first half (20 of 41) to lead 51-50 at the break. The Nuggets stayed close by going 21 for 24 from the free throw line.
Brooks sank two 3-pointers early in the third quarter, but then picked up his fourth foul and left the game. But the Rockets finished the quarter with a 9-2 spurt to take a 74-72 lead to the fourth. Denver went 1 for 8 from 3-point range in the third quarter.
NOTES: Karl expects Anthony to return for Friday's game against Oklahoma City. ... Smith had an eventful day, making a last-minute payment to Houston attorney Rusty Hardin before the game to stall a lawsuit. Hardin was seeking unpaid legal fees after representing Smith in 2006, when Smith was accused of breaking a player's jaw in a pick-up game. Smith paid a chunk of the fees, and has 30 days to settle the debt and void the lawsuit. ... The Nuggets had only seven assists, a season low for a Houston opponent. ... Denver's 39 free throw attempts were a season high for a Rockets' opponent this season.
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