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Brewer scores 22 as Nuggets roll to 11th straight home win

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted March 5 2013 00:17

Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler, JaVale McGee and Andre Miller have all been starters at some point during their careers.

That helps explain why they’ve been so productive coming off the bench for the Denver Nuggets.

Brewer scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets ran their home winning streak to 11 games with a 104-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night at Pepsi Center.

Chandler added 13 points, Miller had nine assists and McGee finished with nine points and five blocked shots to help Denver (39-22) match the Miami Heat for the NBA’s best home record (26-3).

“You’ve got four guys coming off the bench who have started in this league for multiple years. It’s not like we don’t know how to play,” Brewer said. “We’re pretty good together. It’s always good when we get in the game.”

Facing an Atlanta team wrapping up a six-game road trip without injured rotation players Kyle Korver, Zaza Pachulia and DeShawn Stevenson, the Nuggets took advantage of their speed and depth.

Leading by eight heading after three quarters, Denver turned up the defense and pushed the advantage to 17 midway through the fourth. The Hawks never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.

“That’s a really good team over there,” Hawks center Al Horford said. “We hung around, but at the end it was very overwhelming.”

That’s really the best way to describe the Nuggets on their home court. Utilizing a nine-man rotation comprised of starting-quality players, they rarely slow down while running teams into the ground at altitude.

Against Atlanta, Denver finished with 29 fast-break points and 70 points in the paint. Point guard Ty Lawson celebrated his Western Conference Player of the Week honor with 18 points and eight assists as the starters narrowly outscored the bench 54-50.

In Denver's previous victory Friday against Oklahoma City, the reserves accounted for 71 of the team's 105 points.

“They have good chemistry,” Lawson said. “Corey pressures the ball and gets steals. JaVale gets lobs and blocks. They get easy baskets. I looked up at halftime (Monday) and saw JaVale, Wilson and Corey were our leading scorers. Our bench is good – crazy good.”

That bodes well for the Nuggets as they complete a back-to-back set against the Sacramento Kings on the road Tuesday. Lawson and Andre Iguodala were the only starters to play more than 30 minutes against the Hawks.

Nuggets coach George Karl is enjoying the luxury of having multiple options while distributing playing time.

“The hammer is pretty clear if you’re not going to give us what we want, we’ll go someplace else real quick,” Karl said.

“I’ve never seen the depth of the quality of the backups. There’s versatility to it. Injuries aren’t going to have a major factor in our personality. It’s fun. It’s a fun team.”

With a five-game winning streak and a 6-1 record since the All-Star break, few teams are having more fun than the Nuggets as they chase the Memphis Grizzlies (39-19) for the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in Western Conference playoffs.

Given their success at Pepsi Center, home court might mean more to Denver than any other team in the NBA.

“There is an energy to our building,” Karl said. “I think we enjoy playing here; there is a connection with the fans. When we get it going, there is an energy in the building that everyone can feel. The opposing team feels it sometimes, too.”

Denver’s current home winning streak is the longest since winning 12 in a row from March 16 to April 19, 2005.

The Nuggets will have an opportunity to repeat that dandy dozen Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

STAR OF THE GAME

Corey Brewer

Points 22 11-20 FG
Rebounds 4, 4 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 3
Steals 2
Blocks 0
GAME LEADERS
Points Corey Brewer 22
Rebounds Kenneth Faried, Al Horford 13
Assists Andre Miller 9
Steals Ty Lawson 3
Blocks JaVale McGee 5
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson on the reason behind Denver's 26-3 home record

"JaVale does highlight plays, Corey hustles and gets steals. We make big baskets and the crowd gets behind us. They’re probably one of the forces that helps us wins most of our games at home."

KEY MOMENT

Brewer heats up as Nuggets pull away midway through fourth quarter

The Hawks were hanging around, trailing by nine with 8:18 remaining before Corey Brewer scored six points as part of an 8-0 run that pushed Denver's advantage to 17. After a timeout, Atlanta scored the next four points but never got any closer the rest of the way.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach George Karl

On Denver’s fourth quarter defense:
“In general, our hands in the last five games, we have been averaging 13 steals, and at halftime tonight we had two or four, not very many. I didn’t think our defense was bad but it wasn’t creating the tempo or the flow. I thought defensively, we won in the fourth quarter or at least made it easy in the fourth quarter. Corey [Brewer] had a great game I thought offensively but he also was a pest defensively. I think our passing, the 30 assists, is something I would like to see every night, sharing the ball and finding the open man.”

On Denver’s success at home:
“There is an energy to our building. I don’t know if we are a top three team but I think we are top five or top seven team. I think we enjoy playing here; there is a connection with the fans. When we get it going, there is an energy in the building that everyone can feel. The opposing team feels it sometimes too.”

On Denver’s defensive efforts:
“The starters have to get into the game defensively, a lot more so. I wasn’t exactly happy with it. The video always tells me who I am probably more angry at. Statistically, I thought we gave them some easy baskets, paint baskets. Probably with [Kyle] Korver not playing, the key for me in the game was keeping the ball away from the rim. I think they had 28 points in the paint in a half. I don’t like that. That’s a little bit too much for me.”

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson

On the 11-game home streak:
“We play well at home. In the first half, we didn’t play the way we wanted to. I felt in the second half, we came out and played a lot better. We got more stops and more easy buckets.”

On the difference between playing at home and on the road:
“On the road, we give up more points. I also don’t think we are as aggressive on defense and in return, we give up 10 more points on defense. We have to clean that up because Coach [Karl] has been telling us about it. We definitely need to clean it up going into the playoffs.”

On crowd support at home:
“Oh yeah, definitely. They help us out. Especially when JaVale [McGee] makes highlight plays. Corey [Brewer] hustles to get steals. They make big baskets and the crowd gets behind us. They are definitely one of the forces that helps us win most of our games at home.”

On being tied with the Miami Heat for best record at home:
“Yeah somebody just told me today so it definitely doesn’t surprise me. They are a good team at home, I think we are a good team at home. I would say our crowd helps push us for wins.”

Nuggets forward Corey Brewer

On playing teams on second game of back-to-back:
“It’s always good when teams come off a back-to-back because they’re going to be tired. By the fourth quarter in this altitude, it’s going to be tough to run with us.”

On success at home:
“I feel like we’re getting more confident. That’s why we’re trying to get that fourth seed, so we can get that home-court advantage. That would be special for us.”

On bench play
You’ve got four guys coming off the bench who have started in this league for multiple years. It’s not like we don’t know how to play. We’re pretty good together. It’s always good when we get in the game.

Hawks coach Larry Drew

On the game:
“On this six-game road trip, we started out 3-0. I told the guys after the Utah game, we had a chance to have an exceptional road trip. After we dropped the game in Dallas, still the mindset was that we had a chance to have an exceptional road trip. It went from exceptional to having the opportunity to have a great road trip and then coming into tonight’s game, still we had a chance to have a great road trip. We could come out with a win tonight, six games, 11 days, that would have made it a great road trip. We finished 3-3 on this road trip, so for us, .500 basketball, that is a good road trip. We came into this game a little depleted but that is not an excuse. We ran into a very hot basketball team. The Denver Nugget team is playing very well. Our biggest concern tonight was the transition game, which I thought we did an adequate job the first half. Second half, we gave up, I think 17 fast-break points and in this building, you have to get back on defense and we did not. They are playing good basketball and they really get out and run and we hung in there for a while, but we just could not overcome it. Still, given our situation, I am still proud of our group, as I told them and at this stage in the season, to go out and play six and come back 3-3, that’s a good road trip. Now we have to go back home; we’ve got some guys that are banged up, some guys that are nicked up. We have to go home and get well and we have to get off this little skid.”

On Kyle Korver’s injury:
“The toe, it didn’t look good. We will just keep an eye on him particularly once we get home; he will get it treated. Whether he will be available for Wednesday night’s game, that, right now, I don’t know.”

Hawks center Al Horford

On the loss:
“It was tough. More importantly I was proud of the guys that dressed tonight and came out to play. It’s a long season and you deal with injuries; guys really came out and fought. That’s a really good team over there [Denver], and we hung around, but at the end it was very overwhelming.”

On closing out the game:
“I thought it was good, we just had two bad plays down the stretch. We fought early in the 4th quarter. They were just overwhelming.”

On the play of Corey Brewer:
“Not at all [surprised]. He’s a tough player and he’s been through a lot. He’s worked his way into the playing rotation and look what he did.”

Hawks forward Josh Smith

On the loss:
“We fought as hard as we could. In that 4th quarter they were able to put a string of makes together. They’re a fast team. It seems like as soon as the shot is up they’ve got two guys running out and getting a layup. We’ve got to regroup and look ahead. It’s been a pretty good road trip – would have been a great road trip with a win yesterday, and a really great road trip to get one tonight.”

On finishing the road trip 3-3:
“We did a good job, we did .500. A lot of times teams don’t get the opportunity to win two or three games. We won against some pretty good opposition. We’ve got to focus on [Philadelphia] and get ready to go back home.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Ty Lawson registered 18 points, eight assists, and three steals in tonight’s victory, marking the sixth time in his career he has reached these numbers (third this season). With his 18 points, Lawson has now scored in double-digits in 20-consecutive games, the longest streak of his career (previous – 19 games; 1/6/12 - 2/14/12).

• Lawson also extended his streak of games with five-or-more assists to 14 consecutive games. This also marks the longest streak of his career, besting his previous high of 11 games (12/9/12 - 12/28/12).

• Kenneth Faried recorded his 25th double-double of the season by tallying 10 points and 13 rebounds. In his career, the Nuggets improve to 23-1 at the Pepsi Center when the forward records a double-double.

• JaVale McGee finished with five blocks in tonight’s victory, marking the 22nd time in his career that he has recorded five-or-more blocks in a game (third this season).

• Corey Brewer led the bench with 22 points tonight on 11-of-20 shooting, marking the 25th time this season that he has led or tied for the team lead in points off the bench (third time in last four games). His 11 made field goals are a new career high (previous – 10 FG, accomplished five times).

• Andre Miller dished out a game-high nine assists off the bench, marking the 23rd time that he has finished a game with at least nine assists in a reserve role for the Nuggets. The Nuggets improve to 19-4 when Miller accomplishes this.

• Al Horford led the way for the Hawks with 18 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, marking the 14th game of his career that he has reached these numbers (second this season.

TEAM

• The Nuggets beat the Hawks 104-88 and have now won six straight home games over the Hawks.

• Denver is now 26-3 at home and has won 11 straight games at Pepsi Center (longest single-season streak since winning 12 straight from 3/16/05 thru 4/19/05). The Nugget’s 26-3 home record is tied with the Heat for the best home record in the NBA.

• The Nuggets shot .535 (46-86 FG) from the field tonight, moving to 9-0 at home this season and winning their 43rd consecutive home game when shooting 50%-or-better. They have also won 62 of their last 63 and 81 of their last 83 home games dating back to Feb. 2007 when shooting at least 50%.

• Denver handed out 30 assists tonight, moving to 9-0 this season and winning each of their last 38 games when doing so. Denver is 83-9 in 92 games with 30+ assists under George Karl.

• Corey Brewer scored 22 points off the bench tonight. Denver is now 9-1 when a reserve scores 20+ points.

• Denver recorded 10 steals tonight, moving to 22-6 when they have 10-or-more steals. It’s Denver’s sixth straight game with 10-or-more steals.

• Denver scored 70 points in the paint tonight, its sixth straight game with 60+ in the paint (12th of last 14). The Nuggets are averaging 63.5 points in the paint in their last six games. Denver has now scored 60+ paint points 24 times and 70+ points seven times.

• The Nuggets scored 29 fast break points tonight, moving to 26-5 when registering 25-or-more on the break.

• Atlanta was 4-of-6 (.667) from three-point range in the first quarter, but went just 3-of-18 (.188) from beyond the arc the rest of the way.