Cousins leads in Jokic’s absence, Nuggets beat Rockets


DENVER (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins, starting in place of ailing Nikola Jokic, scored a season-high 31 points and the Denver Nuggets bounced back from a loss to beat the struggling Houston Rockets 116-101 on Friday night. Jokic, the reigning MVP, was held out because of a non-COVID-19 illness. JaMychal Green and Jeff Green each added 14 points apiece as Denver shook off a loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night for its seventh win in eight games. Will Barton had 11 points, hitting two 3-pointers to become the pass JR Smith as the Nuggets’ career leader with 769. Christian Wood had 22 points for Houston, and Jalen Green added 18. The Rockets have lost 12 straight.