The Nuggets won the opener of a brief two-game homestand Saturday when Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup with a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds as Denver upended woeful Sacramento, 104-86.
Chauncey Billups collected a game-high 22 points for the Nuggets, who have won all three contests in their run by 15 points-or-more. J.R. Smith scored 17 off the bench and Nene chipped in with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
"I'm just feeling a lot better," Billups told the Nuggets' website. "I'm a lot healthier now. It's a long season. I just believe in the law of averages."
Anthony, of course, had missed the previous five games in the wake of his sister's death before returning to practice last Friday. The All-Star played 30 minutes against the Kings, hitting just six of his 22 shots.
"I just couldn't bury a shot tonight. I couldn't find a rhythm," Anthony said. "My legs weren't there, but I'm glad I got this one out of my system."
On the injury front for the Nuggets, forward Al Harrington, who has missed the past three games with a dislocated right thumb, could return tonight.
Denver hasn't won four straight games by at least 15 points since Nov. 12-20, 2007.
The Rockets, meanwhile, were routed in the opener of a quick two-game road trip in Portland on Sunday. LaMarcus Aldridge had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds in that one as the Trail Blazers earned their eighth straight home win with a 100-85 victory over Houston.
Kevin Martin scored 15 points to lead the Rockets, who lost for the second time in three games on the heels of a five-game winning streak. Courtney Lee added 12 points in the setback.
"We were stuck behind all night. We weren't ready to play," said Rockets head coach Rick Adelman.
Denver has won three of its last four meetings with the Rockets, including a 107-94 win in Houston back on Oct. 30.
For more on the Rockets, check out The Dream Shake.