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Angry Nets take out frustration on Nuggets

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Feb. 28, 2014 01:15

The sea was angry that day, my friends.

Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli. Or the Brooklyn Nets coming off a 44-point loss in Portland.

With nine players available, the Denver Nuggets were the target of Brooklyn’s frustration Thursday night as the veteran-laden Nets atoned for their miserable performance in the Pacific Northwest with a 112-89 victory at Pepsi Center.

“We played a team that got embarrassed in Portland,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “They lost by 44 and came back and turned it around, so we’re in that situation now where we got embarrassed. We got a game coming up on Saturday in Portland and we’re going to have to try to do the same thing.”

Things went south quickly for the Nuggets as they scored a season-low eight points in the first quarter and trailed by 21 heading to the second. The Nets never let Denver get any closer the rest of the night.

“I can speak for everybody in the locker room,” Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson said. “To be a part of something like tonight is embarrassing. We know what we have to do to win, but we are just not doing the right thing.”

Hickson finished with 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while teammate Kenneth Faried had 14 points and eight boards. Randy Foye led Denver with 15 points.

The Nuggets played without six injured rotation players – Darrell Arthur (hip), Wilson Chandler (knee), Danilo Gallinari (knee), Ty Lawson (rib), JaVale McGee (leg) and Nate Robinson (knee).

“It stings,” Foye said. “This one really hurts. We can make all the excuses in the world (about injuries) but we have guys out there who can play. Playing hard is good, but you have to play hard, smart and together. That’s what Coach talks about and he’s extremely positive and he works with us, but he can’t go out there and play for us.”

Shaw has refused to use injuries as an excuse, pushing his team to play unselfishly with energy and effort every game.

The Nuggets didn’t come out with the same urgency as Brooklyn, missing 15 of 18 shots in the opening quarter and committing eight turnovers. Denver finished with 24 turnovers leading to 23 points for the Nets.

“I have never seen anything like the whole first half,” Shaw said. “In all of the years that I’ve played, I’ve never seen anything like it. I think our guys seemed uptight from the very beginning of the game. We were falling down, missing little bunnies right at the rim [and] turning the ball over. It was a weird game and we were on the wrong side of it.”


STAR OF THE GAME

Paul Pierce

Points 18 7-12 FG, 2-2 FT
Rebounds 6, 0 OFF 6 DEF
Assists 1
Steals 0
Blocks 0
GAME LEADERS
Points Paul Pierce 18
Rebounds Andray Blatche 9
Assists Shaun Livingston 8
Steals Andray Blatch 4
Blocks Mason Plumlee 3
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets guard Randy Foye on Denver scoring eight points in the first quarter

"Never got a chance. We’d hit a couple shots, and then have two or three turnovers. We just never got a chance to get it going. It stings. This one really hurts."

KEY MOMENT

Nets control game from opening minute

The Nuggets won the tip but nothing went right after that. They missed their first six shots and trailed by 10 less than 7 minutes into the game. Denver finished with eight points in the first quarter and never recovered.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On team's performance:
“Twenty-four turnovers; offensive inefficiency all night long, which contributed to more pressure on our defense. [That’s] pretty much the story of the game. We did not get it done. We played a team tonight that got embarrassed last night in Portland. They lost by 44 in Portland and came back tonight and turned it around, so we’re in that situation now where we got embarrassed tonight. We got a game coming up on Saturday in Portland and we’re going to have to try to do the same thing.”

On if he’s ever seen anything like the first quarter:
“I have never seen anything like the whole first half, just period, to me. In all of the years that I’ve played I’ve never seen anything like it. I think our guys seemed uptight from the very beginning of the game. We were falling down, missing little bunnies [shots] right at the rim [and] turning the ball over. It is what it is. [It was a] weird game and we were on the wrong side of it.”

On what he told the team after the game:
“I didn’t say anything. I just told them what time practice was tomorrow. There’s not really much you can say in a situation like this with emotions being what they are. I thought it was just better to just forget about it and bring it in and we’ll get after it tomorrow.”

Nuggets guard Randy Foye

On J.J.Hickson:
On being buried by scoring eight points in the first quarter:
“Never got a chance. We’d hit a couple shots, and then have two or three turnovers. We just never got a chance to get it going. It stings, this one really hurts. We can make all the excuses in the world: we didn’t have Ty {Lawson}, Gallo [Danilo Gallinari] JaVale [McGee], Wilson [Chandler], Nate [Robinson], the story goes on and on and on, but we have guys out there who can play. Like I said, playing hard is good, but you have to play hard, smart and together. You have to understand when someone is open to pass the ball. When someone is beat, you have to come and help and trust that someone else is going to help you. That’s what coach talks about; he preaches it and he’s extremely positive and he works with us, but he can’t go out there and play for us.”

On if he has taken on a mentor role for the younger players on the team:
“Every day, I’m just trying to stay extremely positive, not trying to get on guys because I understand they haven’t played major minutes before and just trying to help them. Help them understand that the way you win is looking at Kevin Garnett, a Hall of Famer; he moves the ball every single time. Jason Collins, he came in the game and did not look to shoot, just set screens and rebounded the basketball. You look at all of those guys; Shaun Livingston knows he’s not a three-point shooter, so he’s not looking to shoot. It’s just about understanding your role, and when you have veteran guys on your team it shows because everything moves, and once your offense gets in rhythm it’s hard to stop it.”

Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson

On tonight’s game:
“I can speak for everybody in the locker room and to be a part of something like tonight is embarrassing. We know what we got to do to win but we are just not doing the right thing. I thought we were getting stops in the first quarter but our offense was very stagnant and couldn’t make shots in the paint. Everything went wrong.”

On how to bounce back from tonight’s game:
“We have to get a win. We got practice in the morning and have to come in work hard, keep getting better. Every time we step on the court it’s another opportunity to get better and fish the season strong.”

Nets coach Jason Kidd

On if last night’s loss played a part in tonight’s win:
“We understand we didn’t play well last night, but in this league we have another game and that is what we did [tonight]. We came and showed right from the tip the guys came with energy. Defensively we got stops and from there we started making shots.”

On the offense tonight:
“We were fresh after back-to-backs. Normally we are not fresh, so we don’t have that many fast break points. We were trying to get easy baskets. Offensively we were sharing the ball. Multiple guys were touching [the ball], it wasn’t just one guy just taking it and shooting it. Guys were creating movement and there was a lot of trust offensively.”

On staying healthy and rested on back-to-back nights:
“I think we have six sets left [of back-to-back games], if I am correct. We have to take it one game at a time. Unfortunately, on the first part of this back-to-back, we were a no show [against Portland]. So we were rested and came out and got back against the Nuggets. We’ve got to take it one game at a time and we can’t have what happened in Portland. We’ve got, I think, 26 games left and we have to take care of each one. Each one is important.”

Nets center Joe Johnson:

On performance after last night’s loss:
“Jason [Kidd] gave us a great talk today. He chewed us out about last night, about the poor performance defensively and not moving the ball offensively. As you can see guys came out tonight with a different attitude.”

On tonight’s win:
“I think we just came out and executed offensively and defensively. We limited them to one shot and were able to get out and get some easy baskets. That’s probably the positive we can take from this game tonight.”

On possibility of having a winning road trip with a victory in Milwaukee:
“Any win at this point in the season is very valuable for us. If we can go into Milwaukee with the attitude we had tonight and come out with a win this would be a pretty good trip. We just have to keep working, keep building and hopefully we’ll keep this hunger going into Milwaukee.”

Nets center Jason Collins:

On tonight’s performance:
“I got them a bucket. And of course I had about 3, 4, or 5 fouls so I did my usual fouls and got them a bucket and a free throw. That first one was a little rough, had to make the adjustment on the second one.”

On the pressure of playing with a ten-day contract:
“It’s about being professional. If your name and number is called then you go out there and perform. That’s how I’ve been my whole career.”

On bouncing back after getting blown out in Portland last night:
“It was fun out there and we got the win. That’s the most important thing. The team got the win. Especially after a performance like last night in Portland it’s good to bounce back like this.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• J.J. Hickson posted 14 points and seven rebounds tonight. Hickson is averaging 15.0 points and 16.0 rebounds in his last two games.

• Randy Foye totaled 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. It is the seventh time in his career he has reached those numbers in the same game.

• Paul Pierce led all scorers with 18 points to go with six rebounds. It was his 13th game this season with 18+ points, and his fifth while grabbing at least six rebounds.

• Jason Collins scored three points in eight minutes. It was his first points of the 2013-14 season and his most in a game since he had seven vs. LAC on 2/3/13.

TEAM

• With tonight’s loss, Denver falls to 14-15 at home, the first time they have been under .500 at home through 29 home games since 2006-07 (14-15).

• Denver ended their six-game home winning streak over the Nets tonight. It was the first time the Nets have won at Pepsi Center since 1/27/07.

• The Nuggets shot 30-of-80 (.375) from the field tonight, their sixth time shooting under 40% in their last eight games. Denver is now 0-12 on the year when shooting below 40%.

• Denver scored eight points in the first quarter, their fewest in a quarter since they had eight vs. ATL on 1/3/04. The eight points is tied for their third fewest in a quarter in team history (have registered eight points five times, seven points three times and three points once).

• The Nuggets’ eight first quarter points is an NBA season-low for points in a quarter.

• The Nuggets committed 24 turnovers tonight, their 10th game this season with 20+ turnovers. The Nuggets registered as many turnovers as points with eight in the first quarter.

• The Nuggets are now 1-17 on the year when scoring 95-or-fewer points.

• The Brooklyn Nets had all 13 players play at least eight minutes and every player scored at least three points, while 10 scored 8+. The Nets bench outscored Denver’s 63-30.