Nuggets forward Al Harrington runs into elbow, breaks nose
Nuggets forward Al Harrington played the final month of the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee. No way a broken nose is going to knock him out of the playoffs.
After being TKO’d by an elbow from Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum on Friday night, Harrington said he plans to play in Game 4 of Denver’s best-of-seven series on Sunday.
“I think I’m going to have to wear a mask, unfortunately,” he said. “I don’t want to. If it’s real uncomfortable, I’ll probably just play without it. We’ll see.”
Harrington, a veteran leader who was one of Denver’s most consistent players all season, was battling in the paint late in the third quarter when Bynum caught him flush in the nose and scored on a putback.
“I knew I broke my nose as soon as he did it,” Harrington said. “I heard it crunch.”
As blood started flowing from Harrington’s nose, his teammates scored in a 4-on-5 situation and then forced a turnover before play stopped. Harrington headed to the locker room and watched Denver close out a 99-84 victory.
“I think we took a step forward and I think we definitely have momentum going into Sunday,” he said. “Brand new series. If we get this next one, anything can happen.”
MOZGOV STARTS: Nuggets coach George Karl liked what he saw from Timofey Mozgov in the first two games of the series, and he rewarded the second-year center with his first career playoff start in Game 3.
Mozgov had six points and four rebounds in each of the first two games while playing less than 12 minutes off the both times. He went scoreless in Game 3 but grabbed five rebounds and played solid defense against Bynum.
Kosta Koufos, who started Games 1 and 2, did not play in Game 3 as Karl shortened his rotation.
NOTES: Nuggets big men Kenneth Faried (15) and JaVale McGee (15) became the first time Denver teammates to grab at least 15 rebounds apiece since Brian Williams (19) and Dikembe (15) against the Seattle SuperSonics on May 8, 1994 … Denver improved to 4-21 when shooting less than 40 percent from the field in a playoff game … The Nuggets committed just seven turnovers, one more than their playoff low of six … Denver held the opposition under 100 points for the second time in its last 24 playoff game.