Brooklyn up next as Nuggets seek to extend winning streak

Nets interviewed Brian Shaw as coaching candidate before hiring Jason Kidd
by Aaron Lopez

When the Brooklyn Nets narrowed their listed of coaching candidates last summer, two former players stood out above the rest.

Jason Kidd and Brian Shaw.

“When I interviewed, (Nets general manager) Billy King said he was going to hire Jason or me,” Shaw recalled last week. “I knew that (Kidd) had interviewed a day or two before me, so it was really close.”

In the end, King chose Kidd, who played for the Nets for six-plus seasons. The Nuggets named Shaw as their coach less than two weeks later.

The rookie coaches will match game plans for the first time Tuesday when Denver faces Brooklyn at Barclays Center. The Nuggets (10-6) are one of the NBA’s hottest teams, riding a six-game winning streak, while the Nets (5-12) are trying to overcome injuries to several key players.

“Everything works out for a reason,” Shaw said. “I’m happy where I am. I’m happy the way things turned out and I don’t wish anything bad on anybody. The Nets are struggling and we don’t want them to get everything right against us.”

Brooklyn has been impacted by injuries to starters Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez and key reserves Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry. Lopez returned Saturday after missing seven games with a sprained ankle, but the Nets announced Monday that starting forward Paul Pierce will be out 2-to-4 weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his right hand.

While the Nets’ depth has been depleted, Denver’s depth has been one of its biggest strengths.

The Nuggets got 72 points from their reserves in a 112-98 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Denver’s bench is averaging 45.2 points, which ranks second to the Los Angeles Lakers (47.7).

“It is a key component that you need,” said Nuggets reserve guard Nate Robinson. “Our bench, we really push these guys to go hard. I go at Ty (Lawson); Dre (Andre Miller) goes at the next guy. We just really push these guys to be ready to be able to withstand other guards in the league, other first units that come at them. We try and give them the best look possible and we have been doing at great job at it.”

Robinson exploded for 18 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter against Toronto. He has scored in double figures in seven straight games, averaging 14.6 points in 19.6 minutes during that span.

“He’s been in a hot streak lately,” Shaw said. “When he’s playing and shooting the ball like that, giving us energy, I’m going to ride him.”

The Nuggets are on a roll as well. They’ve won nine of their past 11 games, including three straight on the road, with five stops remaining on their current six-game trip.


WHEN: 5:30 p.m. MT
WHERE: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

DENVER (9-6)

F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C J.J. Hickson
G Randy Foye
G Ty Lawson

F Alan Anderson
F Kevin Garnett
C Robin Lopez
G Joe Johnson
G Tyshawn Taylor

Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (fractured left tibia) are out.
BROOKLYN: Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms), Paul Pierce (hand), Jason Terry (bruised knee) and Deron Williams (sprained ankle) are out.

The Nuggets are 3-3 on the road against the Nets since losing 14 of 15 dating to the 1990-91 season . . . Denver has won seven of the past 11 games overall against the Nets, who moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn last season . . . The Nuggets and Nets split the season series in 2010-11 for third time in the last five seasons . . . Denver’s loss at New Jersey in 2008-09 tied the fourth-largest loss in Nuggets franchise history (114-70 at New Jersey on 2/7/09) . . . The Nets hold the Nuggets team record for most blocked shots in a game by an opposing team (22 at New Jersey on 12/12/91).