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Chandler, Gallinari hit big shots in OT as Nuggets win sixth straight

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Jan. 16 2013 00:46

Danilo Gallinari has hit so many timely fourth-quarter shots this season that his teammates have almost come to expect his late-game heroics.

He had some welcome company Tuesday night.

Less than a minute after Gallinari beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer, Wilson Chandler knocked down the go-ahead 3 to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 115-111 in overtime.

Chandler, playing his second game since returning from a hip injury, had been sitting for roughly a half-hour when Nuggets coach George Karl inserted him into a tie game – primarily for his defense – with 32 seconds remaining.

“I was having a tough time,” Chandler said. “My legs were pretty tired.”

Spotting up in the corner in front of the Portland bench, Chandler took a kick-out pass from Andre Iguodala and had enough lift to release a shot over the outstretched arm of LaMarcus Aldridge.

“That was the shot I had to take, make or miss,” Chandler said. “I’m pretty good from the corner, so I was confident I could make it.”

Standing at the top of the key, Gallinari shared his teammate’s confidence.

“It looked very good,” he said. “I saw the arc and saw it was going in. Great shot by Will. I’m very happy for him.”

Chandler was one of several stars for the Nuggets, who won their sixth straight game and improved to 15-2 at Pepsi Center.

Gallinari scored 25 points, while Ty Lawson (24 point, 12 assists) and Kenneth Faried (21 points, 11 rebounds) added double-doubles.

“It was a division game, so you knew it was extra-important and had more hype than a regular game,” Lawson said. “People brought their ‘A’ game.”

Playing against Portland’s standout rookie point guard Damian Lillard, Lawson was aggressive from the opening tip, mixing drives to the rim with perimeter jumpers. The combination made him a nightmare to contain, as he found open teammates when the Blazers collapsed defensively.

“I'm just trying to attack more and put more shots up,” Lawson said. “That’s what I’ve been to do for the last couple games and it’s been working out for me.”

With Lawson setting the tone, the Nuggets turned a three-point halftime deficit into a five-point lead heading to the fourth quarter.

Denver has been adept at closing games throughout its winning streak but saw Portland rally from a nine-point deficit with 3:48 to play.

The Blazers forced overtime with a 13-4 run capped by Wes Matthews’ 3-pointer with 32 seconds left in regulation. Portland had a chance to send it to double-overtime, but Lillard was wide right on a 3-point attempt with 3.9 seconds left.

Lawson was fouled with 1.2 seconds left and sealed the victory by converting 1 of 2 free throws.

“I kind of like close games,” Karl said. “I think it makes you better; it makes you aware of how you have to play in big-time situations and challenging situations.”

The Nuggets (24-16) will face another challenge Wednesday when they complete their only back-to-back set of January on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It will be the first of two meetings between the teams in five days.

Because of his recovery schedule, Chandler said he will not play in Oklahoma City.

After his big shot to beat Portland, he certainly earned a night off.

STAR OF THE GAME

Ty Lawson

Points 24, 10-19 FG, 2-4 FT
Rebounds 3, 0 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 12
Steals 0
Blocks 0
GAME LEADERS
Points LaMarcus Aldridge 28
Rebounds J.J. Hickson 13
Assists Ty Lawson 12
Steals Kosta Koufos 3
Blocks Three players with 2
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets coach George Karl on Denver winning several tight games during six-game win streak

“I kind of like close games. I think it makes you better; it makes you aware of how you have to play in big-time situations and challenging situations."

KEY MOMENT

Wilson Chandler knocks down corner 3 late in overtime

In a back-and-forth overtime period, Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler came off the bench for defense but hit a 3-pointer that gave Denver a 114-111 lead with 14.9 seconds remaining. Portland guard Damian Lillard could not connect from long range at the other end.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach George Karl

On putting Wilson Chandler into the game after the timeout in overtime:
“At the moment, I just felt comfortable. We talked about putting [Danilo Gallinari] on [LaMarcus Aldridge] and fronting him because he is our best front guy and then Wilson would be the better defender; reading when to help and how to help. Ty [Lawson] had a good rhythm and Wilson [Chandler] in the pick-and-roll is pretty hard to beat. We were a little bit lucky but we have been piecing our wins together in a very solid way. Whatever we have to do, we have figured out how to beat Portland with the three ball. That’s probably not how we are going to beat them ever again this year. But tonight we did and [Danilo Gallinari] made a big three and [Andre Iguodala] had one in overtime and Ty [Lawson] was good. It was an offensive game but I don’t think either coach or team would be very happy with the defensive end of the court.”

On if Wilson Chandler’s final 3 was drawn up for him:
“No it is just a penetrate-the-gap and see what happens, try to get Ty [Lawson] to the rim. It is a spacing-gap play.”

On being a second-half team during the six-game win streak:
“I thought in general, in the second half, our defense got picked up in the third quarter. We were a little better defensively. We played a little tighter in the end. We hit some shots. I kind of like close games. I think it makes you better; it makes you aware of how you have to play in big-time situations and challenging situations. I would like to see us piece the game together more consistently at a higher level of possessions. In the NBA right now, you are learning that; every team is learning how to get to that 40-42 minute mark of playing really solid basketball. We are probably at the 35 minute mark right now.”

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari

On a tough win tonight:
“A win is a win in the NBA. A win is a win. We have to win a game in regulation; we were up by nine points, then seven, then five. We were unable to manage those point advantages but a win is a win like you said so we have to think about the next one.”

On late-game three point shot:
“As soon as I got the ball, I was looking at the clock and it was three seconds left and I had time to fake to the left and shoot it. It was a good shot. We won the game and that’s all that matters.”

On Wilson Chandler’s big shot:
“It was a big shot by Will. He was there in the corner waiting and Andre [Iguodala] made a great pass to Will; it wasn’t an easy shot because he was out for a little while; but he is always aggressive so when he comes in, we know he can knock down those shots.”

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson

On his game and what the Nuggets were able to do in overtime:
“I was trying to attack. When I attack, it brings assists and people have to double me or come over and help so that’s what I was trying to do. We just played well in the second half like we normally do and we got steals and deflections in the third quarter. In the fourth, we got easy baskets and overtime, we just had big shots.”

On getting experience in tough games:
“Definitely, it makes you stronger, it makes us more mature. Especially because they had a late rally with ten points and they came all the way back. Just to deal with something like that is big for us since we are all young.”

On kick-out pass to Wilson Chandler late in the game:

“They are going to have to leave someone open because I was attacking it and [Andre] Iguodala finally got it going to the basket and [Danilo] Gallinari’s always going to the basket and they have to leave someone open and they let Wilson get a big shot.”

Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts

On the game:
“It was a tremendous game. I think for the most part, both teams played pretty well. Third quarter turnovers really hurt us; their transition hurt us most of the night. We got better as the game went on but that hurt us early. Ty Lawson had some good penetrations in the fourth quarter; we made some adjustments with that. I thought we did a better job with that. Last possession, Chandler [Wilson] hit a pretty good 3; they had a good possession, they moved the ball. We sucked in a little bit but he made a shot.”

On Portland’s last shot:
“We weren’t necessarily going for that, we were going for a quick two. The ball ended up moving around and we were just looking for a good shot. We moved the ball well and we just trusted – I don’t know how many guys touched it on that possession – but, really, it was a broken play and Damian [Lillard] ended up with the ball. We were trying to get the ball to either Nick [Batum] or the ball to LaMarcus [Aldridge] and once the ball came to LaMarcus, we were trying to make a play. Make a quick shot, quick drive. They defended those two and then the ball just got moving.”

On close losses wearing on a team:
“I don’t know. I think we are a pretty confident group. I think we have won more than our share of close games. I think we’ve lost three close ones. I don’t think our confidence will waver. We have played some good teams; Oklahoma City is a pretty good team, Denver is an excellent team at home and so is Golden State. The disappointing thing is that we have played three really good teams close and we’ve come up empty but I don’t think it will wear on us.”

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard

On the last play of overtime:
“The end of overtime, it wasn’t for me. We were just trying to get the ball to [LaMarcus Aldridge] at the elbow and get [Nicolas Batum] and Wes [Matthews] moving off of him and try to get an open look. Wes got it back and wasn’t open for a shot; me and him passed it back and forth then there were about two seconds left so we had to get a shot off.”

On his last shot:
“I had to get it up. I’m sure we could have gotten a better look with more time. I remember looking up there and there were about three seconds left so we needed to get a shot up at some point.”

On their mental absence on defense:
“I don’t think it was a mental lapses. I think we just had a few miscommunications; they were doing one thing consistently down the stretch and they kind of just went away from it one play and that just broke our defense down. For the most part, mentally, we were in it.”

Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge

On the loss:
“We let one get away. We were definitely in a position to win the game. We had opportunities to win and we had some breakdowns out there that we shouldn’t have had. We could have made more shots down the stretch than we did.”

On what he said to the team after the game:
“We have let these last two get away from us and that’s a must-have game tomorrow night. We feel like we should have won these last two games. We’ve been in the position to win the last two and just didn’t.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Danilo Gallinari led the team in scoring with 25 points tonight, marking the 26th time in his career (fifth time this season; Nuggs 5-0) he has scored 25+ in a game. The Nuggets now improve to 11-0 at the Pepsi Center when Gallo scores 20+ in his career.

• Gallinari shot 8-of-14 (.571) from the field tonight, the fourth-straight game that he has shot above 50% from the field. Additionally, he has scored 20+ points in five of the last six games.

• Kenneth Faried scored 21 points and came down with 11 rebounds, marking his sixth career game with 20+ points and 10+ boards (fourth this season). The effort is also good for his 30th career double-double (18th this season). The Nuggets improve to 25-5 when Faried records a double-double (18-1 at the Pepsi Center).

• Faried scored his 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting, marking the eighth game of his career he has shot .750 or above (min. five attempts). The Nuggets are 7-1 when the forward accomplishes this feat.

• Ty Lawson scored 24 points and dished out 12 assists, en route to his 19th career double-double (fourth this season). The Nuggets are now 15-4 when Lawson records a double-double. Additionally, it is the fifth time in Lawson’s career that he has recorded 12+ assists (Nuggets 4-1). It is the first time in Lawson’s career that he has registered 24+ points and 12+ assists in the same game.

• LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out six assists tonight. It is only the second time in his career he has reached those numbers in a game (previous – 1/9/11 vs. MIA, 31 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists).

TEAM

• The Nuggets beat the Trail Blazers 115-111 tonight and have now won 22 of their last 24 home games over Portland, including eight straight. Denver is now 15-2 at home and they have won six straight overall games, their longest win streak of the season.

• The Nuggets have now played in two overtime games this season, winning both. Denver has now won seven-straight overtime games at the Pepsi Center, dating back to the 2007-08 season.

• The Nuggets are now 9-1 when scoring 110+ points this season and have won 24 consecutive games when scoring 100+ points at home.

• Danilo Gallinari (25 points), Kenneth Faried (21 points) and Ty Lawson (24 points) all scored 20+ tonight. It is the first time since 1/27/12 vs. TOR that Denver has had three players score 20+. Additionally, the Nuggets have had at least two players score 20+ in four of the last five games.

• The Nuggets had two players record double-doubles in tonight’s victory (Faried – 21 points, 11 rebounds; Lawson – 24 points, 12 assists). Denver is now 8-1 on the season when two-or-more players record a double-double in the same game.

• By winning 115-111 in OT, Denver snaps Portland’s six-game overall overtime win streak and delivers the Trail Blazers their first overtime loss on the year (Portland 5-1 in OT this season).

• The Nuggets collected a season-high 12 steals in the win and are now 17-4 on the season when recording nine-or more steals (12-2 with 10+ steals).

• The Nuggets committed 10 turnovers tonight and have now posted 10-or-fewer turnovers in four of the last five games. Denver is now 6-2 on the year when committing 10-or-fewer turnovers.

• The Nuggets connected on nine threes tonight and are now 8-1 when hitting nine-or-more from deep (have done so in four of last five games).

• Denver dished out 31 assists as a team en route to victory, improving to 5-0 on the season when recording 30+ assists. The Nuggets have now won 34-straight games when recording 30+ assists in the game, dating back to the 2008-09 season (last loss – 1/19/09 @ HOU, 115-113, 30 assists).