HOUSTON -- The Denver Nuggets are already in playoff mode, even though theyre still fighting for a post-season berth. Russell Okung Broncos Jersey
. Arron Afflalo scored 26 points, Ty Lawson had 25 and the Nuggets continued their push up the standings with a 105-102 victory over the fading Houston Rockets on Monday night. Al Harrington added 15 points and Andre Miller had 13 assists for the Nuggets, who swept back-to-back games with the Rockets, the team that was directly behind them in the Western Conference. "Our awareness of where we are in the season is really starting to heighten now," said Afflalo, who went 10 for 16 from the field. "Before, we used to go out there and compete and play the games. Now, we have an ulterior motive almost, in terms of understanding playoff positioning. Thats good for a young team." Denver began the night holding the No. 7 spot in the West, one game ahead of the Rockets. The Nuggets have won four of their last five, and snapped a three-game road losing streak. "We had opportunities to give up on the game and we didnt do it," Denver coach George Karl said. "Its a huge win for us." Houston, meanwhile, was only one game ahead of Phoenix and 1 1/2 games ahead of Utah, who were both playing later Monday. Goran Dragic and Chandler Parsons scored 21 points apiece for the Rockets, who have dropped four straight after a four-game road winning streak. "We were right there," Dragic said. "We knew we had to get that game if we want to win a tiebreaker against Denver. We cannot think backwards, we have to think forward." The Rockets play at Dallas on Wednesday night, a virtual must-win game if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. "We were sitting good a few games ago, and now were not sitting so good," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "Weve just got to go in and take care of ourselves." Denver led 75-74 after three quarters, and the fourth was tight all the way to the end. The Nuggets took a 99-98 lead into the final 2 minutes, and Afflalo found Harrington with a wraparound pass for an easy layup with 1:19 left to make it 101-98. Parsons rattled in a jumper from the free-throw line, but with all the Nuggets standing on the sideline, Lawson hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 45 seconds left to silence the noisy crowd. "We couldve easily come in here and settled (for a loss)," Miller said. "It definitely showed some character, coming in here (and winning), especially against a team thats fighting for a playoff spot." Patrick Patterson hit a short jumper, and Luis Scola had a chance to tie it, but his runner in the lane rattled out with 6 seconds left. Afflalo, a 79 per cent free-throw shooter, split two free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining, giving the Rockets a chance to tie it. But Parsons desperation 3-pointer hit off the front of the rim, and Denver sent Houston to its fourth straight home loss, a season high. "We cant afford to play like this," Parsons said. "Were letting it slip away." Corey Brewer scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter, and the Nuggets finished 9 for 18 from 3-point range to win in Houston for the first time since October 2010. "We just played hard to the end," Brewer said, "and we were able to get one." Houston shot well at the start, led by as many as 11 in the first half and was up 51-44 at halftime. The Nuggets made 9 of their first 14 shots out of the break. Harrington made two 3s, and Afflalo scored in the lane to put Denver up 67-66. Courtney Lee swept in for a layup, and Houston moved back in front with 3:49 left in the quarter. The teams swapped the lead five more times in the quarter, and Denver took a one-point lead to the final 12 minutes. The lead changed hands 16 times in all before the Nuggets finally put it away. "Our mental toughness was pretty good," Afflalo said. "They gave us some tough hits. Every time we fought back, they would make plays." Notes: Rockets C Samuel Dalembert started for Camby and blocked seven shots, a season high. ... Scola had 14 points and 13 rebounds for his 100th career double-double. ... The Rockets went 8 for 29 from 3-point range (28 per cent). ... Houston matched its season-high scoring total in a first quarter (32). ... Miller had at least 10 assists for the 15th time this season. ... The Nuggets have rallied from double-digit deficits to win 10 games this season. ... Karl is guaranteed to finish with a winning record for the 20th straight season. Adam Gotsis Broncos Jersey
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. - The numbers keep climbing — and this time the rise was anything but gradual.ATLANTA -- Mike Minor is working to correct flaws in his mechanics that were discovered when he looked at this years results and matched them up to tape from his strong 2013 season. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he was enthused with the early results. Minor gave up three runs, Chris Johnson and Ryan Doumit each drove in two runs during Atlantas six-run third inning and the Braves beat Eric Stults and the San Diego Padres 8-3 on Sunday. "I thought it was better than a quality start," Gonzalez said after Minor allowed eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. "It was outstanding and well go from there." "I think the thing that was really, really visible was that his arm action and his delivery was there, Im not going to say every pitch, but 90 per cent of the time. He was able to command his fastball on both sides of the plate and that was because of his delivery." Though far less than dominant, the start was an improvement after Minor (4-6) gave up six runs in each of his last two outings. He had allowed at least four runs in four of his last five starts. "There are some mechanical things that we focused on," Minor said. "There are some different things Ive been doing this year. We looked at film of last year and we found three big things I was doing different this year. We tried to change them but I think its going to take time. I feel like its going to be hard to do it right in the middle of the season, so its going to be something that I will slowly adjust." Minor was 13-9 with a 3.21 ERA in 2013. His ERA is 5.32 after Sundays start. The Braves trailed 1-0 before roughing up Stults (3-13). Back-to-back doubles by Gerald Laird and Andrelton Simmons started the inning. Tommy La Stella hit an RBI single that skipped between Stults legs, Johnson had a two-run double before Doumit followed with a two-run single. Yangervis Solarte led off the third with his first homer since his trade from the Yankees on Tuesday. Minor didnt allow another run until Rene Riveras eighth homer with two outs in the sixth. A feww thousand fans arrived early to watch the Hall of Fame ceremonies on the Turner Field video board. C.J. Anderson Broncos Jersey
. Among the inductees were former Braves managers Bobby Cox and Joe Torre and pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. Gonzalez delayed optional batting practice so he and Braves players could watch with the fans. Stults gave up six hits in Atlantas big inning and then allowed only one other baserunner on La Stellas sixth-inning walk. La Stella was caught stealing to end the inning. "You know, you come to a ballpark, you never know what youre going to see," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Eric Stults threw five no-hit innings. And in one inning he gave up six hits. "Really, he deserved a better fate." Stults allowed six runs on six hits and two walks in six innings. Minor left the game with two outs in the seventh and Denorfia on second base. Tommy Medica hit an RBI single off Anthony Vavaro to cut Atlantas lead to 6-3. Justin Upton hit a two-run double in the Atlanta seventh. Doumit made his fourth start of the season in right field as Gonzalez rested Jason Heyward. Gonzalez said hell give B.J. Upton a day off on Monday when Jordan Schafer starts in centre. After the game, Black announced the team will put outfielder Carlos Quentin on the 15-day disabled list on Monday because of a sore left knee. Second baseman Jedd Gyorko will come off the disabled list. Gyorko has been out since June 4 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Second baseman Brooks Conrad will be optioned to Triple-A El Paso. NOTES: Converted OF Jason Lane will be recalled by the Padres from Triple-A El Paso to make his first major league start on Monday against the Braves. RHP Ian Kennedys turn in the rotation will be skipped due to a left oblique strain. Black said Kennedy sustained a "mild" oblique strain in an at-bat and is expected to make his next start. Lane threw 4 1-3 scoreless innings in two relief appearances with San Diego in June. RHP Ervin Santana will start for Atlanta. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China
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