James Harden scored a career-high 50 points and added ten rebounds to lead the Rockets (46-22) past the Denver Nuggets (26-43) 118-108 Thursday night in Houston.

All five Nuggets starter scored in double figures, with Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari each netting 23 and Ty Lawson adding 12 points and ten assists.

Despite Harden’s big evening, the Nuggets managed to keep the game fairly close most of the way. A big second quarter from Houston saw them outscore Denver 32-22, but the Nuggets managed to cut the lead down to nine halfway through the final frame. With Ty Lawson struggling from the field (he finished 5-12 from the field, but didn’t score his second bucket until the third quarter), Foye had his second big game in a row. Foye finished with five threes on the night.

But every time the Nuggets looked like they had some rhythm going, Harden would force his way to the free throw line.

Harden finished 22-25 of from the line. The Nuggets as a team shot just 19 free throws on the evening, and made just 11.

The Nuggets also got beat at their own game in this one – the Rockets finished with 26 fast break points and matched Denver on points in the paint with 46. The Rockets forced Denver to take way too many jump shots, as Denver just looked deflated Harden kept drawing fouls and seemingly scoring at will.

“Houston’s kind of the poster-child for penetrate, drive-and-kick. When you pressure them, they start driving and trying to get in the paint,” said interim head coach Melvin Hunt after the game. “Whereas when we kind of got on our heels instead of attacking back.”

The loss is Denver’s second straight after a four-game winning streak. The Nuggets won’t have much time to ponder this one however, as they travel to Miami to take on the Heat tomorrow night.

Tip-off is set 5:30 MT.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

For complete coverage of the Nuggets.