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Brewer scores 26 as Nuggets hold off Thunder in OT

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Jan. 21 2013 00:19

George Karl described it as the longest film session in the history of George Karl.

Considering his NBA history spans more than three decades, that’s saying something.

“My voice got very sore,” the 61-year-old Nuggets coach said, his voice still raspy more than 24 hours later.

After going over concepts such as covering the pick-and-roll, closing out on 3-point shooters, blocking out on the defensive glass and generally playing with more energy and intensity, Karl got the response he was looking for Sunday night at Pepsi Center.

Corey Brewer provided a spark with 26 points off the bench and Kenneth Faried scored the go-ahead basket in overtime as the Nuggets ended a brief two-game slide with a 121-118 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The victory was the 1,099th of Karl’s 25-year NBA career, moving him past his friend and fellow North Carolina alumnus Larry Brown for sixth place on the all-time list. Only Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Jerry Sloan, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson have won more games.

“Whew, wow,” Karl said. “I’m humbled by the idea I’m even in the top-10, top-20. I never thought I’d be where I am. I’m blessed because of the circumstances of the teams I’ve coached. I’ve had great assistant coaches and a great support system from my family.”

The milestone came on a night Karl and the Nuggets won’t soon forget.

Still stinging from a blowout loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday followed by a home loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday, Denver came out focused and prepared against the NBA’s top team.

The Nuggets (25-18) never trailed by more than three points and built an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter before the Thunder rallied behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook scored seven points, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 22.9 seconds left in regulation, as part of a 13-2 run to force overtime.

To their credit, the Nuggets stayed mentally strong, and matched the Thunder basket for basket in the extra period.

Faried, who finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, gave Denver the lead for good when he backed Kevin Martin into the low post and scored at the rim with 46.5 seconds remaining.

Andre Miller and Wilson Chandler knocked down four free throws in the game’s final 6 seconds to help keep the Thunder at bay, and the Nuggets were able to celebrate when Durant’s fadeaway 3-pointer fell short in the final seconds.

“We wanted that game bad, especially after the way they beat us at their place,” Brewer said. “We needed this game. We came in, played hard and got the win.”

Brewer led seven Nuggets in double figures and helped Denver finish with a 57-18 advantage in bench scoring.

The balanced attack helped the Nugget overcome 73 points by Durant (37) and Westbrook (36). Oklahoma City also finished 40-for-48 from the free-throw line, with Durant and Westbrook going 35-for-38.

“We did fight through a lot of adversity,” Faried said. “It helped being at home because we really had our confidence going. Guys kept fighting. What can I say? The team played really well. This is a confidence-booster right now.”

With the victory, the Nuggets improved to 16-3 at home and remained in position to get 10 wins in January.

Energized by a sellout crowd, Denver did it by outrebounding Oklahoma City 50-39, outscoring the Thunder 66-38 in the paint and generally playing more physical than in two previous losses.

“It was a playoff game in the regular season,” Karl said. “It’s one of our best wins, there’s no question. It was a helluva game and one of our best wins.”

NUGGETS STAR OF THE GAME

Corey Brewer

Points 26, 9-17 FG, 5-7 FT
Rebounds 6, 3 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 3
Steals 1
Blocks 1
GAME LEADERS
Points Kevin Durant 37
Rebounds Kosta Koufos 11
Assists Ty Lawson, Russell Westbrook 9
Steals Danilo Gallinari, Thabo Sefolosha 3
Blocks Kenneth Faried 4
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried on teammate Corey Brewer

“Corey Brewer shot the leather off the ball. I think we need a new ball after that night."

KEY MOMENT

Faried scores in the paint, Thunder commit turnover in final minute of OT

With the Nuggets trailing by one, Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried backed down Kevin Martin in the post and scored on a quick turnaround hook with 46.5 seconds left. The Thunder didn't get a chance for the go-ahead shot when Nick Collison was called for an illegal screen.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach George Karl

On the win:
“It was the best basketball game I have seen this year. It was two teams going at each other; both of them were pretty good tonight. I think we have overcome some situations and circumstances that are difficult; when you give up 50 free throws to win, it means you are doing a lot of good stuff. I am proud of them, they bounced back. It makes us feel like we can be a good basketball team; after Washington, we didn’t feel that way. Now I think our energy will be back to the right place. We will enjoy this win tomorrow and go down to Houston on Wednesday.”

On Corey Brewer’s offensive contributions:
“Corey made those threes; I thought his defense was as good as we were going to get and I rode him. I am surprised that they shot even 33 percent from threes because it seemed like they made every three they shot. I just thought he was in a great place and when we got to the 11 point lead, I was going to try to ride those guys as long as I could. When I put [Andre Iguodala] back in, Wilson [Chandler] back in, I thought they were ready and did some good things. They had great attitudes and I think in general, it was a playoff game in the regular season and we won a close game against a team that wins a lot of close games.”

On bouncing back after the loss to Washington:
“I think sometimes we give into the schedule, sometimes we give into – what I call – the arrogance of the NBA. “Oh you’re only playing a team with 10 wins, you’re going to win that one.” Every team in this league, on any given night, could beat anyone by 20 points. That’s the truth. Washington has beat Miami, Washington has beat Oklahoma City, Washington has beat Atlanta. If you don’t show up in this league and coast in, you can get embarrassed.”

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried

On if the loss in Oklahoma City last week is still fresh in their minds:
“It’s fresh in mine; I had two rebounds. That’s not me at all, they hit me and I didn’t step up to the challenge personally. I was in foul trouble early so I was really disappointed in myself. We did play them at their place, but tonight we came out and did what we had to do.”

On Corey Brewer:
“Corey shot the skin off of the ball. I was saying earlier we need a new ball because of the way he was shooting tonight, I seemed to keep finding him, I was happy that he was shooting so well. He really came to play tonight.”

Nuggets forward Andre Miller

On what the mindset was coming into the game:
“Just not taking this team for granted, we played at the level of the Washington and didn’t respect them. For some reason we tend to get up for games like this, we found some way to bring some energy and it was a tough game, like I said.”

On playing to the level of the competition:
“It happens like that, Oklahoma City lost to them [The Wizards] too. You can’t take teams for granted; this was one of the longer games of the year with the amount of free throws. We found a way to keep our heads up in the overtime and make some plays.”

On the Thunder’s 13-2 run to finish the 4th quarter:
“They put some length out there, they’ve got some playmakers. Anytime you’ve got [Russell] Westbrook, [Kevin] Durant and Kevin Martin and some physical bigs that can open it up for them, they’re going to get some shots. We knew it was going to be a run, we didn’t think they were going to give up. I’m just glad we got the win in overtime.”

Nuggets guard Ty Lawson

On the win:
“We lost to the Washington Wizards, which we didn’t really expect. So getting this win is huge for us and we’ve got to keep it moving. We’ve got Houston next and we’ve got to keep going.”

On playing to the level of the competition:
“I think sometimes, like coach [George Karl] says, we play to the level of the competition. We don’t take people as seriously as we should. We already know that big games like the Clippers, Oklahoma City and whoever else the top teams are we play well because everybody is more focused and everybody wants to play against the best players and do well.”

On the Thunder’s 13-2 run to finish the 4th quarter:
“They were knocking down shots and calls maybe went their way a little bit. They played well; they’re the type of team where they’re never out, even if they’re down 10, 12 points; Kevin [Durant] will get hot and they knocked down shots.”

Thunder coach Scott Brooks

On the two offensive fouls at the end of the game:
“One of the things we don’t do is complain. They call it as they see it. I do my job, our players do their job. That’s neither here nor there. They outplayed us tonight. They scored 60-something points in the paint, they got 20 offensive rebounds; they forced us to 23 turnovers. Could we have won the game? Absolutely. They played a little bit better than us tonight.”

On their 13-2 run:
“We finally started getting some stops, started protecting the basket, got a block, maybe a couple of blocks; we didn’t give them offensive rebounds. That’s what gave us a chance to win. Unfortunately we didn’t start the game that way or throughout the game, play that way. They are a tough team to guard; they are fast, they are quick, they had a good crowd tonight and they play well at home. The bottom line is they played better than us; we gave ourselves the chance to win. That’s all we can ask for every night and that’s what our guys do. We compete to the very last horn.”

On Russell Westbrook’s injury:
“I didn’t want to take him out because I didn’t want to let it tighten up on him. One of the things we all love about Russell is he is such a competitor and he doesn’t make excuses. I don’t know; I haven’t talked to him but he was playing an aggressive game and I thought he did a great job of getting to the free throw line and attacking the basket. He is a guy that gets the quick first step; he has strength and ability to get above the rim. I thought they did a good job of closing out the game, better than us.”

On Corey Brewer:
“They don’t run many plays for him; he just figures out how to get open. He made threes; anytime we made a minor mistake, he was around the basket to make that three and he made that tough one in the right corner in front of our bench. He’s a good player. He has had some big games. Watching their team throughout the season, he’s had big games like that.”

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook

On how he was able to play so well on one leg:
“Just trying to win. I think this was a big game for us; coming off a win at our place. Just trying to come out and try to keep going, try to help us win.”

On Denver’s bench and its impact:
“They have a good bench; a lot of the guys on that bench could start on other teams. I think they did a good job coming in playing aggressive. I think we were just a step late. They made some open threes and we still had a chance to win.”

Thunder forward Kevin Durant

On Corey Brewer’s impact in the game:
“He was making a lot of shots. He hit three 3’s in the fourth. That was key for them and he was really big for them. He hit some tough shots, that’s for sure. I think we gave ourselves a chance to win by going into overtime. We just couldn’t finish; I missed a free throw, a jump shot. I can’t do that.”

On his poor shooting in the first half:
“When I miss, sometimes it is defense, most of the time it is me. I just need to focus a little better on my shots and they will start falling.”

On Russell Westbrook’s play late in the game:
“We rode him back to tie the game up. He was getting to the rim, he was getting fouled, putting pressure on the defense. He played well for us; he played his heart out for us.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Kenneth Faried scored 16 points and recorded 10 rebounds en route to his 31st career double-double (19th this season). The Nuggets improve to 19-1 in Faried’s career when he records a double-double at the Pepsi Center.

• Faried also had four blocks in tonight’s victory, his second game with four-plus blocks this season. Additionally Faried tied his career-high in assists tonight with four, previously achieved on 12/22/12 vs. CHA.

• Kosta Koufos also recorded a double-double in tonight’s victory, scoring 10 points and recording 11 rebounds. It is his seventh career double-double and fourth on the season (Nuggets 3-1 this season).

• Corey Brewer scored a team-high 26 points tonight off the bench, marking the fifth time in his career that he has scored 26+ in a game. It is the second-most points any Nuggets reserve has scored on the season (Brewer scored 27 on 12/26/12 vs. LAL).

• Ty Lawson dished out a team-high nine assists in the victory, marking the 39th time in his career he has recorded nine-or-more dimes in a game (Nuggets 30-9). Additionally, it is the 21st time he has accomplished this at the Pepsi Center (Nuggets 17-4).

• Wilson Chandler scored 12 points tonight and grabbed four rebounds. Since returning to the Nuggets on 1/13/13 vs. GSW, Chandler is averaging 13.8 points and 4.3 rebounds.

• The Nuggets held Kevin Durant without a point in the first quarter, marking the first time since 11/22/09 @ LAL that Durant has been held scoreless in the opening period. The forward went on to score a game-high 37 points in the game.

• In addition to his 37 points, Durant recorded seven rebounds, and eight assists. That marks only the second time in his career he has reached all those numbers in the same game (previous – 4/6/08 vs. DEN; 37 points, eight rebounds, nine assists).

• Durant also went 20-of-21 from the charity stripe tonight, his second consecutive game and third time in his career with 20-or-more made free throws. In his last two games (tonight and 1/18 at DAL), Durant is a combined 41-of-42 from the free throw line.

• Additionally, his 20 makes is the most by a Nuggets’ opponent since Adrian Dantley made a Denver opponent franchise record 27 on 11/25/83 at UTA. Durant’s 21 attempts is the most by a Nuggets’ opponent since Dwyane Wade was 17-of-21 on 5/12/09 at MIA.

TEAM

• The Nuggets beat the Thunder 121-118 in OT tonight. Denver has now won eight of their last 10 home games against the Thunder. Additionally, The Nuggets are now 3-0 in overtime games this season.

• With tonight’s win, George Karl moves into sixth place past Larry Brown on the all-time wins list with 1,099 career victories.

• Denver outrebounded Oklahoma City 50-39 tonight. They have now outrebounded their opponent in 26 of their 42 games and are 10-2 when grabbing 50-plus boards.

• The Nuggets bench scored a season-high 57 points to the Thunder’s 18 bench points.

• Denver scored 66 points in the paint tonight, their 12 game with 60-or-more paint points.