"Our turnovers caught up to us. Our defensive deficiencies caught up to us," Lin said. "They hit tough shots. They had eight 3-pointers the whole game and they probably had four or five in the fourth quarter. They just got hot and we were trying to play uphill and come back from there on out."
Houston clawed back as a jumper by Lin and two 3s by Carlos Delfino trimmed the lead to 101-95 with 4:55 left. Gallinari answered with a corner 3three to make it a nine-point margin.
"Couple of calls and they got to the foul line. They got the momentum from there," Harden said. "It's tough. They are so athletic. They get out in transition. Their point guard pushed the ball, they got so many guys who can score. Gallinari hit a couple of big 3s, too."
The Rockets went on a 7-2 run to pull to 106-102 with 2:55 left, but consecutive buckets by Andre Miller and Lawson made it an eight-point game and Denver closed it out.
"Gallinari made a couple of tough 3s and then we decided we were going to do it on our own," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "It snowballed a little bit and they got ahead. We had to fight back. You never want to lose. You especially don't want to lose when it's self-inflicted, and we did."
The Rockets led by as eight in the third quarter. Toney Douglas helped build the lead with a steal and layup on two straight Denver possessions to help Houston build the lead.
The score was close throughout the first half with neither team leading by more than four. Harden led the way for the Rockets with 13 and Iguodala had 12 for the Nuggets.
Both teams got to the line in first two quarters, shooting a combined 38 free throws.
NOTES: The 12 wins tied for the most ever in January for Denver. It was last done a year ago. ... Faried was named to the roster for the Rising Stars Challenge at All Star Weekend in Houston. Faried is averaging 11.8 points and 9.7 rebounds in 46 starts this season ... The Rockets have averaged 20.7 turnovers in the first three games against Denver. Harden committed 19 of their 62 turnovers. ... The Nuggets reassigned G Julyan Stone to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League.