Late in the season, the Nuggets have taken this learning and improving and not checking out thing to heart.

Their 123-116 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center was the latest example.

"We got casual in the end," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "But we got off to such a good start that we were able to build up a big enough cushion to hold them off."

Two weeks ago the Nuggets had consecutive games against the same team — the Spurs. The Nuggets pushed and nearly stole a win in San Antonio in the first game. But two nights later, instead of applying the effective portions of the first game into the follow-up contest, the Nuggets instead fell apart and were blown out at home by 31 points.

Take Two.

Sunday, the Nuggets pushed the Rockets in Houston, eventually losing in an overtime thriller. Wednesday, the Nuggets made good on their improvements — and big-time efforts from Randy Foye (30 points, 15 assists), Kenneth Faried (23 points, nine rebounds) and Timofey Mozgov (22 points, six rebounds) — to return the favor with a seven-point victory.

On his night, Foye said, "It felt great."

This season, in which playoffs were lost long ago, the little things still matter.