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Nuggets rout Celtics for third straight victory

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Jan. 7, 2013 23:46

Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw admitted to being a little nervous after watching his players take a light-hearted approach to shootaround.

They rewarded him by not testing his nerves when the ball went up against the Boston Celtics.

The Nuggets came out focused at both ends of the floor, building a 23-point halftime lead and never looking back during a 129-98 victory at Pepsi Center on Tuesday night. “After shootaround, I didn’t think our focus was where it needed to be,” Shaw said. “It seemed like we won 15 or 20 games in a row by the way we approached shootaround, but they came out and kept the pressure on them offensively and defensively.”

Ty Lawson had 19 points and 13 assists and Randy Foye added a season-high 23 points as Denver avenged a Dec. 6 loss at Boston by enjoying its biggest margin of victory of the season.

The Nuggets (17-17) won their third straight game and climbed back to .500 for the first time since Dec. 27.

“I think it was motivation from last game (in Boston),” Lawson said. “They jumped on us 39-15 or something crazy and we wanted to make a point that you’re not just going to do that to us and get away with it.”

Shaw wasn’t around to see the finish; he picked up his first two technical fouls of the season and was ejected with 2:43 left in the third quarter and the Nuggets leading by 28. The early departure came after Shaw sought an explanation for an offensive foul call against Evan Fournier.

“I tell our team all the time not to complain to referees and that we punish criers; we don’t cry,” Shaw said. “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even trying to get under the referee’s skin. Fortunately for us, it wasn’t a situation where it really cost us.”

Coming off a season-high 137 points – 77 in the second half – against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, the Nuggets picked up where they left off, scoring 68 points in the first half against Boston.

Foye had four 3-pointers by halftime and finished 7-for-12 from long range. Kenneth Faried added 21 points and 13 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.

The Celtics, who have lost 15 of 19, never got the lead under 20 points in the game’s final 25 minutes.

“Usually, we let teams back in,” Faried said, citing a 21-point collapse against Phoenix on Dec. 20. “We didn’t want to do that. We said we were going to beat teams in the first quarter, beat teams in the second quarter, then put our foot down in the third and finish them in the fourth.”

The 31-point margin of victory was Denver’s largest ever against the Celtics. The Nuggets did it by holding Boston to .385 shooting, which helped lead to 24 fast-break points. Denver also finished with 30 assists and matched a season-high with 14 3-pointers.

“We were just in attack mode all night,” Shaw said. “We just had a nice flow … We're starting to put it together, and obviously it’s a better feeling around here after victories and playing these types of games where we can get the score up in the 100s.”

The Nuggets will look to keep things flowing Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.


STAR OF THE GAME

Randy Foye

Points 23 8-17 FG, 7-12 3FG, 0-0 FT
Rebounds 5, 1 OFF 4 DEF
Assists 5
Steals 1
Blocks 0
GAME LEADERS
Points Randy Foye 23
Rebounds Kenneth Faried 13
Assists Ty Lawson 13
Steals Jarryd Bayless 3
Blocks Wilson Chandler 4
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried on team's three-game win streak

“We’re going to get excited, but we haven’t done anything yet. We’ve beaten teams that are below .500. We have to come out Thursday and beat OKC."

KEY MOMENT

Denver goes wire-to-wire for second time this season

The Nuggets led by 11 midway through the first quarter and were still up nine when they closed the first half with a 26-12 run. Boston never got closer than 20 points after halftime.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On getting ejected from the game:
"Well, the one thing I feel bad about, I tell our team all the time not to complain to referees and that we punish criers; we don’t cry. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even trying to get under the referee’s skin. I asked for an explanation as to why he called that offensive foul on Evan (Fournier) and he told me he wasn’t talking and I said, 'I’m just asking you to tell me what he did so I can teach him so he doesn’t make the same mistake again,' and he gave me a 'T'. And the second one, I said something to him and got the second 'T'. Fortunately for us, it wasn’t a situation where it really costs us."

On being worried about how the Nuggets would perform after shootaround Tuesday:
“After shootaround, I didn’t think our focus was where it needed to be. It seemed like we won 15-20 games in a row by that margin by the way we approached shootaround this morning but they came out and kept the pressure on them offensively and defensively, running after makes and misses and the timing of everything. They had to account for our rollers. We were able to hit our on point with crisp passes. They shot the ball in rhythm. We shot a great percentage from the 3-point line, the free throw line. We were just in attack mode all night; we just had a nice flow. Defensively, I thought we were very active and in the first half what set the tone for us was that we limited them to one shot and we were able to get the rebound and go. Our guards have been doing a good job at coming back and contributing on the boards.

On the Nuggets winning in dominant fashion the last two games:
“We’ve seen flashes of it at times. One of the things we talked about, we hadn’t played a consistent 48 minutes, and a big part of it was even before the eight-game losing streak. We had a ton of games where we dug such a big hole for ourselves in the first quarter that we have to expend so much energy getting back in the game and it makes it tough. Now we’re not digging that big hole, so it’s putting us in a better position. A classic example is last time we played this team we gave them a 39-point first quarter and we only scored 15. We were down 24 just like that, so we were able to not put ourselves in that position tonight and have a consistent effort all the way through the game and play the game the right way. I think that the guys are having fun doing that, so hopefully we can continue to do that and feel this way more often after the games.”

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried

On the difference the last three games after losing eight straight:
“Coach let us hoop. He just let us get out and play. He figured out that this altitude is a killer for teams and the personnel that we have is people who will get out and run, play great defense and it’s fun when we do that instead of just calling plays all the time.”
On how he likes playing at a higher tempo:
“Like I said, he let us play. He let us be players. He let us play our game, and our game is to get out and run. It has really helped and it got the burden off our back of wondering what he wants.”

On their defensive intensity in the last three games:
“We’re playing great D, that’s the main thing. We’re playing great D. We’re taking pride in our individual defense against our man; I know I am, for certain. Lately I’ve been up in the air about stuff, if my defense has declined any or if I’m not the player I used to be. I wanted to shut the critics up and show that I can still play D, I can still do whatever I want and make sure my man doesn’t score and I score on my man whenever I can.”

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson

On the motivation for tonight’s game:
“I think it was motivation from last game. They jumped on us 39-15 or something crazy and we wanted to make a point that you’re not just going to do that to us and get away with it. So that’s what we did. (Randy) Foye was hot and making shots and spreading the defense out, (Kenneth) Faried was taking care of things down low with J.J. (Hickson).”

On the play of guard Randy Foye:
“I just told him personally that you’re getting wide open shots. I’m doing all the work; all you’ve got to do is set your feet and knock them down. That’s what he’s been working on, just getting his shot right and he’s been showing improvements and it’s making everybody better. For us to win like we want to win, he needs to be knocking down shots.”

On his defensive play lately:
“Just more effort. I’m playing more minutes, but I feel like I’m the first line of defense and if I’m playing hard, everybody is going to look at me like, 'If he’s playing hard, let me get up, too, and be more active.' That’s all I’m trying to do, make the defense more active, get turnovers and steals so we can get out and run.”

On playing at a higher tempo the last three games:
“Yeah, I think so. We had been posting up more. Say we had got a defensive rebound and they kicked it to me, we were still posting up in the lane and it was slowing us down because J.J. (Hickson) would be right there, and there is no penetration for me. When I penetrate, I make it easy for everybody. I dump it off to Kenneth and J.J. for easy dunks. Foye gets open and we went back to that and it’s been working for us. We’ve been scoring what, 100-plus points the last three games on this win streak.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens

On loss to Nuggets:
“Tonight’s [performance] was not good enough. We are going to have to play really well to beat these teams on the road. Everybody is going to have to play close to an A-game. That’s everybody. If we have multiple guys that aren’t there, we’re not going to win. But today was disappointing. That is two games in a row that I have been really disappointed.”

On guarding the Nuggets from the 3-point line:
“First of all, [the Nuggets] can get into a rhythm and they did. They made some shots with [our] guys there and just got going. They also made a lot of shots when we weren’t there. We put a lot of emphasis on making sure we protect the basket as much as possible. We are not very big, so sometimes we have to do it with multiple bodies. Maybe that was the cause of opening up some threes. As a person that goes back and looks at the film, my question when I start to review the film will be if we had any presence on the basketball at all. I will watch and we will assess that and figure it out. It didn’t feel like [the Nuggets] felt like we were there. Even when your technique is good everywhere else, if you don’t have that type of presence on the basketball, it makes it difficult.”

On Jared Sullinger’s two flagrant fouls:
“I’ve talked to him. I think he needs to analyze the film and figure out what is and what isn’t working, and do his best to avoid those. I didn’t see the replays, and without looking at the film, it is hard for me to comment on his [flagrant] fouls. Clearly he has had a couple so he needs to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Celtics guard Jordan Crawford

On loss to the Nuggets
“We just weren’t getting back on defense. We gave up a lot of dunks and uncontested layups. We aren’t playing hard enough … Once they started making layups and dunks we started worrying about that and they started making 3s too. We didn’t put enough pressure on them. We were giving up layups and 3s. We didn’t take away anything to make it hard on them.”

On team's overall effort
“That’s what we pride ourselves on the whole season is playing with effort and scrapping the games out. So it’s tough losing like this.”

Celtics guard Avery Bradley

On team's performance:
“We just haven’t been very consistent. We haven’t been helping each other and having really been talking that much. They are all things that we can fix. We just have to give more effort. If you’re not talking or even if we aren’t playing the right coverage all the time you can still make up for all of that if you give more effort. I don’t feel like we’ve been giving as much effort as we could give every single game.”

On team's preparation leading into Denver game:
“We had a great practice yesterday and we thought it would translate to the game. Unfortunately it didn’t. Like I always say, the good thing about this league is you have a chance to play tomorrow, to improve and to make up for all the mistakes we made tonight.”

On what Denver did to be effective:
“They picked up the tempo and hit a lot of 3s in transition. That hurt us. I think they hit 10 3s in the first half. If we were able to cover the 3, then we would’ve been in the game in the first half.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Ty Lawson posted 19 points and 13 assists tonight, his fourth straight double-double, 10th of the year and 34th of his career (Denver is 25-9 in those games). His streak of four straight double-doubles in the longest of his career and he is averaging 18.0 points and 12.0 assists over this stretch.

• Kenneth Faried registered his second straight double-double and 10th of the year with 21 points and 13 rebounds. It was the ninth 20-point/10-rebound game of his career (7-2 in those games) and 53rd career double-double (43-10 in those games, 31-2 at home).

• Additionally, Faried’s nine made free throws and 12 free throws attempts are new career-highs.

• Randy Foye scored a game and season-high 23 points (7-12 3FG) to go with five rebounds and five assists. It is just the fifth time in his career he has posted 23+ points, 5+ rebounds and 5+ assists.

• Additionally, it was the fourth game of Foye’s career with seven-or-more made threes. Foye is the 15th player to make seven-or-more threes in the NBA this season.

• Wilson Chandler tallied 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks tonight. It was the eighth game of his career with 4+ blocks.

• Jeff Green’s 17 points were the lowest by a Nuggets’ opponent leading scorer this season.

TEAM

• The Nuggets earned their second-straight home win and third straight game overall. It’s the Nuggets’ third winning streak of three-or-more games this season.

• Denver’s 31-point win tonight was their largest all-time against the Celtics (previous was 29 on 1/6/79 in Denver). Additionally, Denver has now won nine of their last 10 home games over the Celtics.

• The Nuggets have scored 129+ points in consecutive games for the first time since 4/9 and 4/11/11.

• Denver has won two straight games by at least 22 points, their first time doing so in two-or-more games since January 2011 when they won three straight by 22+.

• The Nuggets scored 103 points through the first three quarters tonight, their first time doing so since 1/15/11 vs. CLE. It was the first time 2/12/97 at PHX that Boston has allowed an opponent to score 103-or-more through three quarters.

• Denver shot over 50 percent from the field for the third straight game and seventh time this season, going 7-0 in those games.

• The Nuggets connected on 14-of-31 (.452) threes tonight. Their 14 threes ties a season-high and it is just their fifth time in team history making 12+ threes in back-to-back games.

• Denver was 10-of-18 (.556) from three in the first half, one shy of Denver’s all-time record for threes in a half.

• The Nuggets dished out 30 assists, their second straight game with 30+ helpers. Denver has now won 44 straight games dating back to Jan. 2009 when recording 30-or-more assists.

• Denver outrebounded Boston 56 to 35, their second straight game with 50+ rebounds and a differential of 20+ boards. It was the first time with a +20 rebound differential in back-to-back games since March 2009.

• Tonight was the first home game this season that a Nuggets’ player was the outright scoring leader of the game (fourth time overall).