Denver Nuggets Sacramento Kings Gameday

by Aaron Lopez

Lawson leads charge as Nuggets rout Kings

By Aaron J. Lopez,

Posted Jan. 26 2013 22:56

In amongst the trees, Ty Lawson outleaped two Sacramento Kings and pulled down a rebound with one hand.

Serving as his own outlet pass, Lawson sprinted up the court and hit a midrange jumper before the defense could get set.

It was the aggressive, attack mentality that the Denver Nuggets love seeing from their point guard.

Lawson scored 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting and added six assists and four steals in just 26 minutes to lead the Nuggets past the Kings 121-93 Saturday night at Pepsi Center.

“When I’m able to rebound, I definitely think I’m dangerous pushing it and finding someone who’s open or I can just attack and score,” Lawson said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last five or six games. I think it’s helping me out.”

Lawson’s wing man was pretty good, too.

Andre Iguodala added 20 points and seven assists for the Nuggets (27-18), who led by as many as 35 points in the second half en route to their third straight victory. Denver also improved to 16-6 since Dec. 13 and moved within percentage points of Golden State for fifth place in the Western Conference.

“This was a good one for us,” Iguodala said. “I think we have to stay on each other, hold each other accountable and continue to have performances like that.”

Focused from the opening tip, the Nuggets jumped out to 20-point lead in the game’s first 10 minutes. Lawson scored 15 points in the opening quarter, and Denver posted a season-high 71 points in the first half.

“Just trying to put the game away,” Iguodala said. “Ty had it going. He started things off and from there we got on a roll.”

Up 22 at halftime, the Nuggets never gave the Kings any hope. They scored the first eight points of the second half and cruised the rest of the way. All five Denver starters scored in double figures, leading to an 81-43 advantage over their Sacramento counterparts.

“I can’t deny that the starters deserve a lot of credit,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “Iguodala and Ty were playing well both defensively and offensively, making the game pretty easy. Our starters did a great job getting us in the game and that’s the way we rode most of the night.”

Though the Nuggets shot .528 from the field, Karl was more pleased with the defense, which forced 20 turnovers leading to 25 points. Denver also had 33 points in transition, never allowing the Kings to catch their breath following a loss to Oklahoma City 24 hours earlier.

“We came out aggressive and it started with our defense,” Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried said. “That really set the tone. That really ignited our offense and showed how we play Nuggets basketball.”

Iguodala, acquired in the offseason, also is getting more comfortable with Denver’s uptempo system. He used four practices this week to work on his 3-point shot and find his offensive rhythm.

“He was very aggressive and made some 3s early,” Karl said. “That got him in a confidence zone. People don’t understand that he is a really good defender and a very good play-maker. If he can improve his game 10 to 20 percent, I think we will have a lot of fun in the second half.”

The Nuggets, now a season-best nine games over .500, will take Sunday off in advance of Monday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers at Pepsi Center.


Ty Lawson

Points 26, 11-15 FG, 4-5 3FG
Rebounds 3, 0 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 6
Steals 4
Blocks 1


Points Ty Lawson 26
Rebounds Thomas Robinson 10
Assists Andre Miller 9
Steals Ty Lawson, DeMarcus Cousins 4
Blocks JaVale McGee, Chuck Hayes 2


Kings coach Keith Smart on Denver's dominance to start game and out of halftime

“In the first quarter, they scored 39 points, and 30 points in the third quarter. When you give up 69 points in the first and third quarter, then that’s the ball game.”


Lawson scores eight straight as Nuggets take control early

Already up 10 points, the Nuggets never looked back after a 12-2 run late in the first quarter. Lawson hit consecutive 3-pointers during that stretch and Sacramento never recovered.


Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach George Karl

On the Nuggets’ fast start to the game:

“I can’t deny that the starters deserve a lot of credit for tonight’s game. Our bench has been great. This game, especially [Andre Iguodala] and Ty [Lawson], they were both playing well defensively and offensively, making it pretty easy. My bench was okay - not like it has been - but I thought our starters did a great job of getting us in the game, both offensively and defensively and that’s the way we rode most of the night.”

On what he liked most about the win:
“I think Sacramento got caught in the back-to-back game. We were playing with higher energy, with a higher skill set and they had a little bit of a rhythm in the second quarter when they looked like they were going to fight and then the beginning of the third was when we took the game to an out-of-control level. Defensively, there were good things and the balance of the offense and defense is what I was pleased with most.”

On Ty Lawson:
“I think Ty, even tonight he was making his jumper which was great and his three-ball was going in. But I still think anytime he can get into a guy, he should go because I think his efficiency is great. That’s how we want to play. We want to create build-outs and when he sucks the defense in then the other guys have a lot of easy basketball plays to make.”

On if Andre Iguodala is letting the game come to him:
“I think we are trying to simplify the game for him and I think he thinks and complicates the game at times. Even though our game is kind of, there is some cuteness to our game, we play pretty simple and I think tonight he was very aggressive and made some threes early. That got him in a confidence zone; people don’t understand that he is a really good defender and a very good play-maker. If he can improve his game ten to twenty percent, I think we will have a lot of fun in the second half [of the season].”

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried

On getting off to a quick start:
“We came out aggressive and it started with our defense. That really set the tone tonight. That really ignited our offense and showed that’s how we play Nuggets’ basketball.”

On why that kind of first quarter doesn’t happen every game:
“Teams are good; teams have disguises and schemes. Teams normally hit shots. We had a lot of turnovers tonight against the Kings and that led to a lot of fast-break points for us in the first quarter but that is not going to happen every night and we know that but we still keep hungry and try to push the tempo.”

On taking pride in his passing:
“Of course I do. I like getting my teammates assists. Everyone thinks that I just want to score all the time but I like giving my teammates passes; just having confidence that when the ball goes up, they’ll knock it down.”

Nuggets guard/forward Andre Iguodala

On having a blow-out win:

“This was important for us. It shows we can take care of business. We have to stay on each other and hold each other accountable. We have to continue to have performances like that.”

On Denver guards rebounding more:
“The stats show that when a guard gets the rebound, the percentages are better and you get a good look. You are able to attack them and get into a good flow, especially when you want to play fast.”

On stopping DeMarcus Cousins:
“I think it was a little bit of both; it was the flow of the game and us stepping up to the challenge and playing a little bit better. It was pretty good.”

On getting off to a quick start:
“That is something we have been trying to do all year against every team we play at home. We need to get off to good starts and play fast. It shows up for us in the fourth quarter.”

Kings coach Keith Smart

On playing back-to-back in altitude:

“It was a combination; every team knows that when you come in here and try and play a game here, it’s going to be an adjustment. We train here in Colorado Springs in the preseason to get us in a pretty good rhythm for conditioning. You have to play a controlled basketball game; I thought our passes were really shaky which lead to 25 points on turnovers for us. I wasn’t sure if it was fatigue or what, but that happens sometimes when you come into this building. Obviously they are going to get off to a fast start; that’s their M-O. In the first quarter, they scored 39 points, and 30 points in the third quarter; the second quarter was kind of here or there. When you give up 69 points in the first and third quarter, then that’s the ball game.”

On playing reserves in the second quarter:
“We didn’t play well in the first quarter. Sometimes on the back-to-back and playing here, you need some other type of energy there and we didn’t have anything. We were dead on the wire there so I went with that group and I think they got it down to 13 at one time, so I chose to go with that group. There was nothing to our game and we couldn’t get back on defense. I thought the bench would come in and maybe close it down a little bit and get it to where it would be a manageable number but they weren’t able to do that.”

Kings guard Tyreke Evans

On the loss:
“We just didn’t stop it. We had a lot of turnovers. We’ve got to be better with the ball. I don’t know what it is, but we’ve had a lot of turnovers these last few games. When you turn the ball over on the road it’s hard to get a win.”

On Denver’s first quarter taking away the energy:
“It took it out of us a lot. They [the Nuggets] just ran the floor. They got rebounds, they got steals, and then one pass and a layup or dunk. We knew what they wanted to do, but we just couldn’t stop them.”

On bouncing back for the next game:
“It’s not that tough. We’ve just got to be ready. Washington has been playing well; they’ve got John Wall back. It’s not going to be an easy one, but we’ve just got to play well.”



• Ty Lawson recorded 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting, six assists, and four steals. It is the third time in Lawson’s career that he has scored 26+ points, dished out six-or-more assists and have four-plus steals in the same game. Additionally, it is the ninth time in his career he has recorded four-plus steals in a game (fourth time at Pepsi Center; Denver 4-0).

• By shooting 11-of-15 in tonight’s game (.733), Lawson recorded his ninth career game shooting above .700 percent with a minimum 10 attempts. The Nuggets are now 8-1 in those games. Additionally, Lawson connected on four three-pointers, marking the seventh time in his career he has hit four-or-more in a game.

• Andre Iguodala scored 20 points and dished out seven assists in tonight’s victory, marking the 61st time in his career he has reached those numbers in the same game (second time this season).

• Andre Miller recorded nine assists off the bench tonight, the seventh time he has had nine-or-more dimes in a game this season (Nuggets 5-2). In the last two seasons, the Nuggets are 21-5 when Miller does so.

• Anthony Randolph recorded a season-high seven rebounds in the victory.

• Thomas Robinson scored 10 points and 10 rebounds, marking his third career double-double (all three in January).


• The Nuggets beat the Kings 121-93 tonight and have now won 14 of their last 17 home games against Sacramento. Additionally, the 28-point margin of victory is the largest of the season for the Nuggets (previous – 25 at SAC on 12/16).

• Denver is now 18-3 on the year when holding their opponent below 100 points and are 11-1 (9-0 at home) when scoring 110-or-more points.

• All five of Denver’s starters scored in double-figures and they have now won 11-straight games when accomplishing this (3-0 this season). Denver’s starters outscored Sacramento’s starters 81-43.

• Both Ty Lawson (26) and Andre Iguodala (20) registered 20+ points. The Nuggets are now 9-4 when two-or-more players score 20+ points and they have won each of their last seven when doing so.

• Denver scored 71 points in the first half tonight, marking the most points the team has scored in a first half since 3/21/11 vs. TOR (72 points).

• Additionally, their 101 points through three quarters was also a season-high, surpassing their 97 through three at SAC on 12/16.

• The Nuggets shot .528 from the field tonight, improving to 5-0 at the Pepsi Center when shooting above 50%.

• Denver set or tied a number of season highs tonight including: 3FGM (13), 3FGA (31), fast-break points (33) and steals (13).

• The Nuggets outrebounded the Kings 51-40, improving to 11-2 on the season when recording 50+ boards.

• Denver went 14-of-17 from the charity stripe (.824), improving to 4-1 on the season when shooting above 80% from the free-throw line.