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Reserves Hamilton, Robinson propel Nuggets past Bulls

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Nov. 22, 2013 01:40

Through three quarters Thursday night, Nuggets reserves Jordan Hamilton and Nate Robinson combined for 10 points.

In a matter of 2 minutes, 20 seconds, they were a two-man wrecking crew that leveled the Chicago Bulls.

Robinson opened the quarter with back-to-back 3s and Hamilton brought down the house with two of his own as the Nuggets got a dominating performance from their bench during a 97-87 victory at Pepsi Center.

Led by Hamilton's 17 points and Robinson's 11, Denver’s reserves outscored their Chicago counterparts 49-21. The margin was 42-7 at one point before Bulls made it respectable in the game’s final minutes.

“You can’t let your guard down against them,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They have a lot of guys. I thought their bench hurt us. Hamilton had a big game for them. Nate had the two big shots to start the fourth.”

The Nuggets, who also got 12 points and 11 rebounds from forward Kenneth Faried, ended a two-game losing streak and beat the Bulls for the 13th time in the past 14 meetings in Denver.

“I think we executed and got the shots we wanted,” Denver point guard Ty Lawson said. “When they missed, that’s when we got open 3s, open layups and things like that. That’s what we wanted to do – get stops and just push it.”

After missing 18 free throws and allowing 19 offensive rebounds in Monday’s loss to Oklahoma City, the Nuggets struggled in those areas again against the Bulls. They went 12-for-22 from the foul line and gave up 22 offensive boards, leading to 23 second-chance points for Chicago.

“I’m happy to get the win, but not happy with our two areas that seem to be our nemesis,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “When we are playing good teams like the Bulls, those are areas that you can’t continue to give the other team the advantage and expect to come away with the win. We’re fortunate to be able to win the game.”

Leading 50-48 at halftime, the Nuggets held the Bulls to 14 points in the third quarter and limited Chicago to .388 shooting for the game. Denver’s interior defense was also stout, finishing with 10 blocked shots; since the start of the 2007-08 season, the Nuggets are 50-6 when blocking at least 10 shots.

“Coach talked about (trying) to keep them under 85 points and continue to compete,” Robinson said. “We needed this win to catapult us to get ready for our next opponent.”

The Nuggets (5-6) will try to extend their home winning streak to five games Saturday when they face the Dallas Mavericks.

STAR OF THE GAME

Jordan Hamilton

Points 17 6-12 FG, 3-6 3FG, 2-3 FT
Rebounds 6, 2 OFF 4 DEF
Assists 0
Steals 1
Blocks 1
GAME LEADERS
Points Derrick Rose 19
Rebounds Luol Deng 13
Assists Joakim Noah 8
Steals Carlos Boozer 2
Blocks Timofey Mozgov 3
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets guard Nate Robinson on fourth-quarter scoring outburst

"It takes one shot for me to see the ball go in and I can figure out what I can do to stay aggressive, make plays for my teammates . . . do everything, be a total pest and cause chaos out there."

KEY MOMENT

Robinson and Hamilton hit four 3s as part of 13-0 run to open fourth quarter

Despite a poor shooting night, the Bulls trailed by only eight at the end of three quarters, but Nate Robinson hit back-to-back 3s, and Jordan Hamilton followed with two 3s of his own to help push the lead to 21 in the first 2:30 of the fourth.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On tonight’s performance:
“I’m happy to get the win, but not happy with our two areas that seem to be our nemesis. We gave up offensive rebounds. [The Bulls] had 22 offensive rebounds, as well as us missing 10 free throws and only shooting 54 percent from the free throw line. When we are playing good teams like the Bulls tonight, those are areas that you can’t continue to give the other team the advantage and expect to come away with the win. We’re fortunate to be able to win the game tonight.”

On the Nuggets defensive effort:
“I think our initial defensive stance throughout the first 11 games has been good but allowing teams to get second and third shots put us in the hole. Ironically enough the games that we were struggling to score earlier in the season, we defended better. Tonight was a lower scoring game. We defended better. When we really get the score up, we seem to get more [relaxed] on defense and give up points. I’m trying to find that balance between keeping the pace up and keeping the pressure on the opposing team’s defense, but also being tough and defending better ourselves.”

On stretching the lead in fourth quarter:
“I wish I could tell you all the stuff we were doing out there. I didn’t recognize the ball was just going in for us. Jordan Hamilton gave us good contribution off the bench and knocked down some shots on the offensive side. I did a bad job of not putting Evan Fournier in the game because he played really well in the first half and right when it was his time to come in, Hamilton got going and I kind of forgot of him [Fournier]. Randy Foye was a really good teammate when I was going to put him back in the game when Fournier was doing well he said, ‘hey coach, Evan’s doing well, just leave him in the game.’ I commend [Foye] on being a good teammate and recognizing that Evan had it going. Overall we held [the Bulls] to 39 percent shooting from the field.”

Nuggets guard Nate Robinson

On playing against his former team, Chicago:
“I mean we just gotta win. That’s our main goal to get as many wins as we can. Luckily it was against my former team.”

On if he had something to prove to the Bulls:
“Nothing to prove, I just want to play well every game. Going against my former guys I used to play with and being along side of those guys. We had a special season last year, it got cut short. We lost to the champions, the Miami Heat but it’s a special group over there, they do everything together. That’s something that I’m going to cherish for life. Friendships that last forever.”

On Jordan Hamilton’s play tonight:
“Jordan’s blossoming into a good player. He works hard in practice. I push him a lot. I talk a lot of trash to him. I see a lot of potential in that kid so it’s good to see him out there doing his thing. I just told him to be more aggressive and be hungrier and obviously try to get more offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds and push the ball. He’s getting better and better as the season progresses and that goes for everyone on our team. We come in everyday and work hard and it shows on the court.”

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson

On if the Nuggets beat the Bulls at their own game:
“Yeah, I think so. I think we executed and got the shots we wanted. When they missed, that’s when we got open three’s, open layups, and things like that. That’s what we wanted to do—get stops and just push it.”

On Nate Robinson’s big start to the fourth quarter:
“Oh yeah, he’s a spark plug. Nate is never down and out—if he misses the whole first three quarters he is going to come through with something for us in the fourth quarter. That’s what he did for us.”

On how he did in his matchup against Derrick Rose:
“I saw they changed the way their defense was playing me—they were going under. It was a lot of different looks; I need to look at a lot of tape. I know other teams will look at this and think that this is how to guard me. It just comes with the territory.”

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau

On Derrick Rose:
“I thought he had a great first half; attacking, quick explosive moves, good plays, terrific defense. It’s coming and you can see it. I just want him to continue to focus on improvement and get better each game. His confidence is growing. He is playing better and better. Our team needs to play better. We have to find ourselves.”

On the offense in the second half:
“I thought our turnovers hurt us some. The big thing is that I thought we gave them some easy scoring opportunities. We should have been able to count on or defense more than we did. 97 points and 46 percent [shooting] is too much. I thought the effort was good, rebounding wise. But, offensively we have to make quick decisions and keep the ball moving. We have to have a balance to our game. It has to be inside-out, we have to get the posts up and we have to get dribble penetration. So, those are things we can do better.”

On the Nuggets play in the second half:
“You can’t let your guard down against them. They have a lot of guys. I thought their bench hurt us. [Jordan] Hamilton had a big game for them. Nate [Robinson] had the two big shots to start the fourth. [Timofey] Mozgov hurt us in the paint. You have to defend the bench into the game. [Ty] Lawson and [Wilson] Chandler put a lot of pressure on you. You have to use your team to slow those guys down, or, make them work as much as possible. But, you can’t neglect the others. The others are capable of beating you, so you have to do both. I thought the initial part of the defense was good, the secondary part was not as good as it needed to be.”

“You have to give them credit. I thought they did a good job at challenging shots. You have to bring energy to the game. I think sometimes when you are taking the ball out of the net; you aren’t playing with the offensive energy you need to play with. You have to play for 48 minutes to get a win on the road. We are working our way towards that.”

Bulls forward Taj Gibson

On their defense in the second half:
“We didn’t play our normal solid defense. Certain players off their bench hit some tough shots. [The Nuggets] hit a couple tough three’s late. It was tough.”

On how to improve offense:
“I think it starts with our defense first. Free games where nobody really plays defense are really rough on us because we kind of lose focus on the defensive side. When we get stops, it gets us in the right rhythm and it gets guys good looks. I just felt that guys had great looks but this room tonight is really frisky.”

On matchup versus Portland:
“We got to try to slow them down. We’ve got to go in there with our heads up. Games like that against a tough opponent like Portland coming up you have to hit them first and set the tone the right way. We have to get back to playing the defense that we know we are capable of. The main thing is defense and trying to slow them down.”

Bulls point guard Derrick Rose

On second half:
“We just couldn’t make any shots in the second half. They hit some shots, a lot of three’s. Shots weren’t falling for us. Eventually we tried different things and it wasn’t working. If anything we can learn from this. When we’re playing a team like this we have to be disciplined and get back in transition. They are a team where anybody can shoot anywhere.”

On Nuggets offensive tempo:
“We knew they were going to play like that. In the first half we were communicating. In the second half we weren’t communicating and guys got wide open shots.”

On advice to Danilo Gallinari:
“Listen to your body and be patient. You can’t let anybody force you to come back and play. It’s your body and you know your body better than anybody else. You’ll know if it’s time when you step back onto the court. I just hope he doesn’t force it.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Jordan Hamilton came off the bench to lead Denver in scoring with 17 points (3-6 3FG) to go with six rebounds in 22 minutes. Hamilton has played 20-or-more minutes 10 times in his career, averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting .479 (23-48 3FG) from long range in those games.

• Kenneth Faried registered his fifth double-double of the year with 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes. It was the 48th double-double of his career (39-9 in those games) and 31st at Pepsi Center (29-2 in those games).

• J.J. Hickson posted 14 points and nine rebounds, his third game of the season he has reached those numbers. It was the 78th time in his career he has had 14+ points and 9+ rebounds in the same game.

• Nate Robinson had 11 points, two rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes off the bench. It was his fourth game of the year with 10+ points.

• Joakim Noah recorded 11 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for Chicago tonight. It was just the fourth time in his career he has reached those numbers in the same game. Additionally, it was his first double-double of the season.

• Carlos Boozer registered his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes.

TEAM

• The Nuggets have now won four straight home games and move to 5-6 on the year. Denver has now won seven straight and 13 of their last 14 home games over Chicago.

• Denver went into the halftime break with a two-point lead, but held Chicago to just 14 points in the third and opened the fourth with a 13-0 run to push the lead to a game-high 21 points.

• Tonight was the second time this season Denver has held their opponent to under 90 points (2-0 in those games).

• The Nuggets shot well from long range, going 9-of-21 (.429). The Nuggets are 2-1 on the year when connecting on nine-or-more threes and went 13-2 last season when accomplishing this.

• Denver held the Bulls to .392 (38-97 FG) shooting tonight, moving to 2-0 on the year when keeping opponents under .400.

• The Bulls grabbed 58 rebounds tonight, a new opponent season-high (was 55 by POR on 11/1) and the most rebounds by a Nuggets’ opponent since 3/26/10 at TOR.

• Denver recorded 10 block shots tonight, their second game this season with 10-or-more. Since the start of the 2007-08 season, Denver is 50-6 when blocking 10+ shots.

• Tonight was the fourth time this season that Denver’s leading score has come off the bench (Jordan Hamilton with 17 tonight, Wilson Chandler with 18 vs. MIN on 11/15, Timofeyl Mozgov with 23 vs. LAL on 11/13 and Nate Robinson vs. POR on 11/1).