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Foye's 33 not enough as Nuggets fall to Bobcats

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Jan. 30, 2014 00:17

Attacking the basket and creating for others, Randy Foye was in full Ty Lawson mode as the Nuggets played without their starting point guard.

Unfortunately for Denver, it’s tough to replace the real thing.

Foye scored a season-high 33 points and added seven assists in Lawson’s absence, but the Nuggets struggled defensively in a 101-98 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats at Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.

Lawson, Denver’s leader in scoring and assists, sat out with a strained left rotator cuff, and the Nuggets also lost backup guard Nate Robinson to a sprained left knee 6:16 into the first quarter.

“The one position we can ill afford to have an injury or have that player missing is Ty Lawson,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “(He’s) a pure point guard who can run the team and direct everybody where to go.

“We lose a lot of speed, we lose that playmaking ability. We tried to mix and match and make up for it in other ways, but it definitely shows his value when he’s not in there by how we have to work really hard to get everything that we got.”

The Nuggets (22-22) saw their two-game win streak end as they failed to score at least 100 points for the first time in 14 games this month.

Offense, however, wasn’t the issue. Denver struggled to contain Bobcats center Al Jefferson, who matched his season-high with 35 points. The Nuggets also committed 28 fouls, leading to 42 free throws for Charlotte.

“We gave them the game,” Foye said. “We got stops; they got offensive rebounds. We made some boneheaded plays by fouling them and putting them on the free-throw line.”

The Bobcats made seven free throws that either tied the game or gave them the lead in the game’s final 4:14, but the Nuggets still trailed by only two and had the ball with 9 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Evan Fournier missed a tough shot in the lane, and Timofey Mozgov couldn’t convert a putback attempt in traffic.

Even shorthanded, the Nuggets lamented the fact that the game came down to the final seconds.

“We were definitely out of sync offensively, but we kept saying that it wasn’t going to come down to our offense,” Shaw said. “We felt like if we could keep the game close, our rhythm would come around offensively. We gave ourselves a chance. In the fourth quarter, we had a five-point lead and they went on a 7-0 run; that was kind of the beginning of the end for us.”

Mozgov finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, while Fournier matched his season-high with 19 points. Fournier also posted a career-high six assists as Shaw turned to him and Foye to act as playmakers.

“Ty and Nate, they just push the ball and they do so many different things,” Foye said. “Me and Evan haven’t been in that situation, so I just tried to mimic some of the things that Ty does, just being real aggressive, taking it to the basket and making plays for everybody.

“We’ll figure it out. There’s no quit in this team. We were down several guys and we continued to fight. Being one of the leaders, I’ll make sure we come in to practice and work hard and get ready for Toronto.”


NUGGETS STAR OF THE GAME

Randy Foye

Points 33 12-21 FG, 6-7 FT
Rebounds 3, 1 OFF 2 DEF
Assists 7
Steals 2
Blocks 0
GAME LEADERS
Points Al Jefferson 35
Rebounds Timofey Mozgov 14
Assists Randy Foye, Ramon Sessions 7
Steals Evan Fournier 3
Blocks Three players with 2
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw on playing without starting point guard Ty Lawson

“The one position that we cannot afford to have an injury or to have that player missing is Ty Lawson. It definitely shows his value when he’s not in there."

KEY MOMENT

Fourth-quarter run propels Bobcats

The Nuggets enjoyed their biggest lead of the night, 87-82, with 6:38 remaining, but the Bobcats emerged from a timeout with a 7-0 run to surge ahead. There were three ties and two lead changes over the final three minutes.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On tonight’s game:
“To put it in a nutshell, you’re not going to be able to beat any team when you allow them 42 free throw attempts. It’s been a theme of ours trying to defend without fouling. Obviously we weren’t able to accomplish that tonight. They missed 12 free throws on top of the 42 they attempted so if they would have made more free throws it wouldn’t have even been as close as it was. We were down in numbers but still had enough to get the job done and we had some players tonight that couldn’t get it going on the offensive end or the defensive end so it’s just trying to patch things together, find combinations of guys that want to get out of there and try and defend without fouling and like I said we weren’t able to accomplish that tonight.”

On missing the value of Ty Lawson:
“The one position that we cannot afford to have an injury or to have that player missing is Ty Lawson. His speed, along with being a pure point guard that can run the perimeter and direct everybody where to go and keep the defense on their toes, so we lose a lot of speed, we lose that playmaking ability. We tried to mix and match and make up for it in other ways but it definitely shows his value when he’s not in there.”

On defense:
“Our offense, at times, failed us, but it was our defense - just not being able to defend without fouling.”

Nuggets guard Randy Foye

On playing without Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson:
“It was hard playing without Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson because they push the ball so well and they do so much different things on the court. I just tried to mimic what those guys do on the court just being really aggressive by attacking the defense. I was picking my spots to score but we had to much foul. We need to not foul and move our feet better. We will figure it out there is no quitting on this team. We will continue to fight by being one of the leaders I will make sure we come in to practice and work hard.”

On tonight's game:
“It was different out there on the court, it was the first time out of the whole year that we playing without Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson. I haven’t put up that many points since I played with Minnesota, I just tried to be engage the other guys but we gave them this game. We let Al Jefferson get to the spots he wanted and we fouled those guys. We came out flat the first quarter because we are used to Ty Lawson being the engine by getting us going but the team knew that we had to get it going.”

On guarding Randy Foye:
“We actually adjusted our pick-and-roll defense and tried to get our big guys up, which with [the Nuggets] is hard because [the Nuggets] do such a good job of hitting their bigs on the roll. So, we were dropping back more. But, [Foye] was crushing us. So, he forced us to adjust.”

Nuggets guard Evan Fournier

On playing without Nate Robinson:
“Coach told us during halftime that Nate Robinson was injured. It hurt us mentally because when you lose a guy like Nate Robinson it’s going to be tough. We just went out their tonight and played hard and stepped up because Nate Robinson brings a lot to this team so we had to work as a team and do the little things.”

On last-second shot:
“I tried to go to my right and do a spin moves but I fell. We didn’t lose this game because of that foul. I’m very disappointed.”

Bobcats coach Steve Clifford

On tonight’s defense:
“One of the keys to the game was we got off to a good start. We struggled defensively in the second half with the high pick-and-roll defense. I thought in the last three or four minutes we played well defensively.”

On the impact Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has on the team:
“The numbers don’t lie. Look at our defensive numbers up until his injury. Look at the defensive numbers when he wasn’t there and look at our numbers when he has been back. There is a drastic difference since he has been back.”

On guarding Randy Foye:
“We actually adjusted our pick-and-roll defense and tried to get our big guys up, which with [the Nuggets] is hard because [the Nuggets] do such a good job of hitting their bigs on the roll. So, we were dropping back more. But, [Foye] was crushing us. So, he forced us to adjust.”

Bobcats forward Gerald Henderson:

On what Bobcats did to preserve win:
“We get in enough situations I feel like now to where we know what kind of plays we need to make at the end of the game. It’s probably a good idea that we’re giving the ball to Al [Jefferson] at the end of the game. Defensively it was not making a lot of mistakes. I think we’re cutting down on those down the stretch and we’re more organized on defense and guys are in their right spots helping each other. We pretty much won the game at the end when [Evan] Fournier missed the layup and then Michael [Kidd-Gilchrist] is coming right in to help Al [Jefferson]. Those are the things that are winning plays. We’ve gotten better and better at those, especially coming down the stretch.”

On helping out on defense:
“It’s all about the mindset of helping each other. More than anything just get yourself in there. When a shot goes up you just have to get in there.”

Bobcats center Al Jefferson

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s block on Timofey Mozgov:
“It was a weird play from the beginning. The ball got deflected in some kind of way but their big boy got the ball and had a clean shot layup but MKG made a heck of play blocking it and we came out.”

On what the Bobcats did to retake the lead in the fourth quarter:
“We just had to get back to what we were doing at the beginning of the game. Randy Foye was just amazing tonight. He had to step up because they had some guys out. We just had to get back to what we were doing. Down the stretch we made some good plays, some great plays on offense.”

On playing through health issues:
“I’m getting healthy, I’m getting there. I’m probably at about 85-90 percent right now. I’m working towards to get to 100 percent. I have to be able to do it both on both ends. That’s the only way this team is going to have a chance at success is if I play at a high level.”

On fouling:
“The head coach is going to do a good job at managing fouls. I’m a guy that doesn’t really foul. I know how to not foul and play smart when I do get fouls. I knew if he had put me in at the ten minute mark I’d know what not to do. At the end of the day you get in a mindset where you don’t want to foul and you’re hurting your team on defense. I think he did a good job of waiting to put me back in and once he got me in we just had to fight from behind.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Randy Foye scored a season-high 33 points (12-21 FG) to go with seven assists and two steals. It was the sixth career 30+ point game of his career and his first since he had 32 points on 2/26/11 vs. BOS as a member of the Clippers.

• Foye is the first Nugget to score 30+ points this season. Coming into tonight’s game, Denver was the only remaining team in the NBA to not have a player register a 30-point game.

• Timofey Mozgov tallied 15 points and 14 rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench. It was his seventh career double-double and fifth this season. Mozgov is averaging 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.33 blocks while shooting .652 (15-23 FG) from the field in his last three games.

• Evan Fournier tallied 19 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. His 19 points ties his season-high, while his six assists set a new career-high and his three steals ties a career-high.

• Al Jefferson registered 35 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. It was just the fourth time in his career he has posted 35+ points, 11+ rebounds and 2+ blocks in the same game. It was Jefferson’s 10th straight game with 20+ points, tying Jason Richardson in 2007-08 for the longest streak in Charlotte history.

TEAM

• Denver fell to Charlotte 101-98 tonight. It was just the second time team history losing to the Bobcats at home (6-2 all-time at home vs. Charlotte).

• The Nuggets ended their streak of 13 consecutive 100-point games. Denver is just 3-14 on the year when scoring fewer than 100 points.

• Denver was held to .390 (39-100 FG) shooting from the field. Denver is 0-6 this season when shooting below 40% from the field.

• Randy Foye and Timofey Mozgov were a combined 18-31 (.581) from the field for 48 points. The rest of the team shot a combined 21-69 (.304) for 50 points.

• Denver was outrebounded for the sixth consecutive game, their longest stretch since 2006.

• Charlotte attempted 29 more free throws than the Nuggets, Denver’s biggest deficit since 4/14/04 at SAS (only the fourth time since 1986).

• The Bobcats are now 9-0 this season when scoring 30+ points in the first quarter.

• Prior to tonight’s game, Charlotte had lost nine straight games to Northwest division opponents.

• Denver is now 6-2 this season when facing teams in the top eight seeds in the Eastern Conference.