Ty Lawson, reserves help Nuggets end losing streak

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Jan. 3, 2013 23:56

After an emotional day of team meetings 24 hours earlier, the Denver Nuggets let their play do the talking.

Showing renewed energy and a collective unity that was often missing for nearly three weeks, the Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-108 on Friday night to snap their longest losing streak in 11 years.

Ty Lawson led the way with 18 points and 12 assists, while Denver’s reserves combined for 49 points to help the Nuggets win for the first time since Dec. 15 and end an eight-game losing streak.

“It’s wonderful, a wonderful feeling,” Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried said. “We got the monkey off our back, and we can’t put it back on. I think we stopped playing so tight, nervous and hesitant. We just came out and hooped, and didn’t really care about the rotation. We were just pulling for each other and wanted to win.”

The Nuggets (15-17) spent Thursday meeting individually with coach Brian Shaw following Wednesday’s home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The team also had to process the absence of veteran Andre Miller, who has been excused from the team until Monday for personal reasons.

“It was a feeling we needed to get, especially in light of everything that’s been going on with us,” Shaw said. “Now we have something we can build on. As easy as it was for us to string together eight losses in a row, if we play the right way, we come with that kind of energy and continue to improve, we can string together eight wins in a row.”

Running the floor and following Lawson’s attacking mentality, Denver built a 16-point lead in the second quarter before the Grizzlies started to chip away.

Memphis cut the deficit to 10 points by halftime and took a five-point lead late in the third quarter. Reserves Evan Fournier (12 points), Timofey Mozgov (16 points) and Nate Robinson (15 points) fueled an 11-2 run that helped Denver regain the lead heading to the fourth.

“We’ve got to be better. We can’t give up leads like that,” Denver forward Darrell Arthur said. “We had a 10-point lead at the end of the half. It went away there quick.”

Playing against his former team for the first time, Arthur hit a key jumper that gave Denver a seven-point lead with 2:10 remaining, and the Nuggets were still up six after Lawson made a 3-pointer with 53.1 seconds to go.

The Grizzlies scored the next four points and had a chance to tie after Robinson split two free throws with 3.4 seconds left. Robinson then did a good job challenging Mike Miller at the 3-point line, and the shot missed long at the buzzer.

“Nate played great 'D' on him,” Faried said. “When it went up, I was thinking, ‘If this goes in, then we’re just going to go to overtime and beat them there.’ That’s what I was focused on.”

An extra session wasn’t necessary, and the Nuggets breathed a collective sigh of relief. They will practice Saturday and then head to Los Angeles for Sunday’s game against the Lakers.

“I thought we did a great job playing with as sense of urgency and playing as hard as we can,” Arthur said. “We’re a team that has to scrap every night. We can’t be lackadaisical. Hopefully we can keep this thing going and move back up over .500.”

STAR OF THE GAME

Ty Lawson

Points 18 6-12 FG, 1-4 3FG, 5-6 FT
Rebounds 4, 1 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 12
Steals 3
Blocks 1

GAME LEADERS

Points Zach Randolph 25
Rebounds Zach Randolph 13
Assists Ty Lawson 12
Steals Mike Conley 4
Blocks Kosta Koufos, Timofey Mozgov 2

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur on performance against Memphis

“I thought we came out and played great. Guys were making shots. We actually looked like a team out there. The ball was moving. It wasn’t sticking."

KEY MOMENT

Reserves spark third-quarter turnaround

Denver had been outscored 23-8 over the first 9:23 of the third quarter when reserves Evan Fournier and Nate Robinson fueled a 11-3 run that helped the Nuggets regain the lead heading to the fourth.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On the Nuggets play tonight:

“It feels good to finally feel this feeling again. With the exception of the close of the second quarter and obviously the beginning of the third quarter our effort was good. We shared the ball, [our] energy was good, we had 27 assists, I know we had 16 at halftime, our bench unit was strong, 49 points off the bench, everybody shot the ball 50% or above and I guess with the exception of Wilson and JJ, everybody on the team shot the ball 50% or above. It was a feeling we needed to get, especially in light of everything that’s been going on with us within that eight game losing streak and with the incident from the other night and so now we have something we can build on and share with the team… As easy as it was for us to string together an eight losses in a row, if we play the right way, we come with that kind of energy and continue to improve, we can string together eight wins in a row. That’s the way it goes sometimes and hopefully we can learn ”

On what he was thinking as Grizzlies Forward Mike Miller took the last shot:
“The dilemma that you’re in at that point all the time is, should you foul. We’ve been such a poor team boxing out and getting rebounds off of free throws that I didn’t want to foul and have them make one and then miss the second one. We’ve been poor in that area and so we had five small guys in. Basically, we were switching everything and we said that they’re just going to have to make a great shot over a contested hand and we got there, he got a good look at it but we finally got a break tonight.”

Nuggets guard Evan Fournier

On tonight’s win:
“It feels good to be on the court. It’s even better when you get the win. We were coming off eight straight losses and we had to react and play hard and I am glad to be a part of the win but we got to be more aggressive, starting with Ty Lawson with ball pressure and play hard on defense like we did tonight.”

On coaching staff:
“I have a lot of responsibilities. I talked to the coaching staff a few days ago and wanted to see what they expected out of me, we are on the same page and looking to move forward. It feels good to be able to talk to the coaching staff and working on getting me better.”

On last shot:
“I was hoping for Mike Miller to miss the shot because you know Mike Miller is there to shoot the ball and one of the best three point shooters.”

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried

On how it feels to end their eight-game losing streak:
“It’s wonderful, a wonderful feeling. We got the monkey off our back, and we can’t put it back on. We have to come out in our next game on the road against L.A., and we just have to be focused for that. I think we stopped playing so tight, nervous and hesitant. We just came out and hooped, and didn’t really care about the rotation. We didn’t really care who was in the game at the time. We were just were pulling for each other and wanted to win.”

On how they turned it around at the end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter:
“I think in the fourth quarter we just balled. We didn’t care about the score and at the end of the game we just knew we wanted to will the win more than they did.”

On what he was thinking on the last shot by Mike Miller:
“I was thinking that Nate (Robinson) played great 'D' on him. He was right under him. He was right there, made him have to pump fake and that’s when he twisted and turned. When it went up, I was thinking, ‘If this goes in, then we’re just going to go to overtime and beat them there.’ That’s what I was focused on.”

On if he was aware of his breakaway dunk in the third quarter getting the crowd back into it:
“I am very conscious of it. I am trying to get my teammates back into the game, trying to get the energy back, and I believe that is what I’m good at. I’m great at that. The crowd, I guess they love me, and every time I get on the floor I try to give them something to cheer for and something to put them back in the game for us to pull away or get a win when it’s close.”

Grizzlies coach David Joerger

On loss to Nuggets:

“We needed to convert. But it’s mostly about defense. We didn’t guard well. We had given up 58 at halftime. There has to be a level of urgency that everybody in the West knows. Like, ‘if you are going to beat Memphis, you have to run their bigs.’ Everybody has a speed point guard, and probably a backup point guard that is speedy, and they are going to push him up your tail. You have to get back, get your defense set at half court and once we do that then we can take a stand. [The Nuggets] got the loose balls, they got offensive rebounds and we didn’t convert on fast breaks. We gave up too many easy baskets. We scored 108, which is certainly great. But, to give up 58 at half-time and 111 at the end of the game wasn’t great. [The Nuggets] shot like it was a shoot-around, I thought, for the most of the game.”

On the Nuggets in the fourth quarter:
“They made shots. I thought we made a good run at them in the third quarter. Defensively, we had some breakdowns where we just lost our discipline. They made some shots and made us pay.”

Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince

On loss to the Nuggets

“In the third [quarter] we were better defensively. We were aggressive so we got to the free-throw line. In the fourth quarter, they turned up the heat a little bit and made some shots. We played in spurts in the fourth quarter. When we play a team like Denver who can put points on the board in a hurry you always have to be on your toes defensively at all times. We’ve been inconsistent with that all year long. When you play against these guys you have to be ready for 48 minutes no matter who you’re guarding. Help guys are more important than the guy who is guarding the guy with the ball and we haven’t been doing a good job at all with that.”

On allowing 111 points to Nuggets
“We did feel like we were playing a desperate team. There was a couple possessions there where Darrell Arthur kind of saved the day for them where he stopped Tony [Allen]’s layup down there, then Tony stole the ball from him and he got it right back and Nate Robinson laid the ball up … The 50-50 balls they got in the fourth quarter. The transition offense for us, we had plenty of opportunities where we could get some layups and we missed them. It’s part of the game but I still think defensively is where we messed up tonight.”

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley

On facing the Nuggets on eight-game losing streak:

“They played desperate. They obviously needed the win and they played like it. They worked hard for it and I think they outworked us down the stretch.”

On erasing a 10-point halftime deficit:
“We thought we finally had the game in our pace. We were getting to the free-throw line and that’s the key on the road. We controlled that and getting the ball down to our big fellas. We were doing what we wanted. We got away from it in there in the end of the third quarter and going into the fourth quarter and got ourselves in a hole.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Ty Lawson registered 18 points and 12 assists tonight. It was his seventh double-double of the year and the 32nd of his career (23-9 in those games).

• Tonight was the sixth time in Lawson’s career that he has had a double-double in at least two straight games (has two streaks of three-straight double-doubles and four with two straight).

• Timofey Mozgov posted 16 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes. It was the fifth time in his career posting those numbers in the same game, with four of them coming this season.

• Nate Robinson tallied 15 points (3-5 3FG) and seven assists tonight. It was the 29th game of his career with 15+ points and 7+ assists in the same game, and his 105th career game with 3+ threes.

• Evan Fournier scored a season-high tying 12 points, his fifth game of the season with 10+ points and first since 11/18 at OKC.

• Zach Randolph totaled 25 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis. It was the 67th game of his career with those numbers and the third time this season.

TEAM

• With tonight’s win, Denver snaps their eight-game losing streak and their five-game home losing streak. It was their first win since 12/15 vs. New Orleans.

• Denver has won three straight home games over Memphis as well as 10 of their last 11 and 27 of their last 29 home games over the Grizzlies.

• The Nuggets 111 points are their most in a game since 12/3 at BKN and their most at home since they scored 117 vs. NYK on 11/29.

• Denver shot over 50% from the field for the fifth time this season (5-0) and their first time since 12/3 at BKN.

• The Nuggets connected on 9-of-22 (.409) from three-point range, moving to 6-2 on the year when hitting nine-or-more threes.

• Denver’s bench outscored the Grizzlies’ bench 49-26. Denver is now 8-3 when their bench scores 49+, and have outscored their opponent’s bench in 24 of their 32 games.

• The Grizzlies attempted 38 free throws, the second most by a Nuggets’ opponent this season (HOU shot 44 on 11/16). The Nuggets are now 2-5 when their opponent attempts 30+ free throws.

• Denver dished out 27 assists as a team tonight, their fifth game of the year with 27-or-more helpers (4-1 in those games). It was Denver’s most assists in a game since 12/4 at CLE.

• Tonight was the fourth time in the last five games that the Nuggets’ opponent has recorded 10-or-more steals.

• The Nuggets had three bench players score in double-figures for the first time since 12/13 vs. UTA. Additionally, Timofey Mozgov led the bench with 16 points, the most by a Nuggets reserve since 12/13 vs. UTA.