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Nuggets hold off Knicks for wire-to-wire win

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Nov. 30, 2013 00:15

Denver Nuggets fans had seen the scenario plenty of times before: Game on the line, Carmelo Anthony with the ball.

From 2003 to 2011, they were often thrilled with the result – and Friday night was no different.

Matched up on smaller defender Randy Foye, Anthony missed a potential game-tying baseline jumper as time expired, and the Nuggets held on for a 97-95 victory over the New York Knicks in front of a sellout crowd at Pepsi Center.

“Much respect to Carmelo, but at the end of the game, I realize we’re fighting for our lives,” Foye said. “I’m just saying to myself, ‘I’m going to make him take a tough shot, no matter what.’ If he makes it over me with a hand up, I can live with it. But I can’t live with giving him an easy shot, just because he’s Carmelo.”

Anthony, who made plenty of clutch shots during his seven-plus seasons in Denver, finished with 27 points but went 8-for-22 from the field. His final shot was tipped by Foye and never made it to the rim.

“I saw I had a smaller guy on me and my thing was to try to shoot over him,” he said. “I knew what I wanted to do, I knew the spot I wanted to get to. I didn't complete it.”

The Nuggets (9-6) never trailed on the way to their fifth straight win. Ty Lawson led Denver with 22 points and eight assists, while Foye added 17 points, including a 3-pointer that gave the Nuggets a nine-point lead with 1:43 remaining.

New York rallied with two late 3s by Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith, and Denver left the door open by missing three of six free throws down the stretch.

“I thought our guys pretty much controlled the game from the onset,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “They were able to whittle the lead down but I thought it was a heck of a defensive stop by Randy Foye at the end of the game, 1-on-1 with Carmelo.”

Having played nearly two seasons with Anthony, Lawson held his breath as his former teammate worked the clock down for the final shot.

“I’ve seen him hit a lot of tough shots,” Lawson said. “You’re always nervous when Melo has the ball in the last 10 or 15 seconds. I thought he was going to go for (a 3-pointer) and try to win it.”

With Anthony’s miss, the Knicks lost their eighth straight game and fell to 3-12 on the season. The Nuggets, meanwhile, continued to put their 0-3 start in the rearview mirror as they prepare for a season-long six-game road trip.

“Everybody is just swagged out,” Foye said. “Everybody just understands that you have to have a little bit of swagger and a little cockiness, not individually but as a team to say, ‘We’re coming. No matter what you do, we’re coming.’ ”

Denver’s trip starts Sunday in Toronto. Five of the six games will air on Altitude Sports & Entertainment, with the Boston game on Dec. 6 airing on Altitude2 and ESPN.

STAR OF THE GAME

Randy Foye

Points 17 5-11 FG, 2-4 3FG, 10-12 FT
Rebounds 4, 0 OFF 4 DEF
Assists 4
Steals 0
Blocks 1
GAME LEADERS
Points Carmelo Anthony 27
Rebounds J.J. Hickson 11
Assists Ty Lawson 8
Steals J.R. Smith 2
Blocks Timofey Mozgov 3
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets guard Randy Foye on the team's confidence

"Just a swag. Everybody is just swagged out. Everybody just understands that you have to have a little bit of swagger and a little cockiness, not individually but as a team to say, ‘We’re coming. No matter what you do, we’re coming.’ "

KEY MOMENT

Nuggets make two defensive stops in final 7.1 seconds

The Knicks had a chance to force overtime when Carmelo Anthony got the ball on New York's final possession. Nuggets guard Randy Foye played great defense and Anthony's turnaround jumper fell short at the buzzer.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On overall performance:
“I thought our guys pretty much controlled the game from the onset. I don’t know if they ever led, well they didn’t, so it was a wire to wire win, which is pretty good. I think we had a nine-point lead with a minute and 17 seconds left and they started trying to get quick one’s going to the basket. We started switching everything and we understood that we were going to do that. A couple times though we helped on the penetration and passed it back out. They hit some timely threes at the end. We went one for one on the free throw line a couple of times and they were able to whittle the lead down but I thought it was a heck of a defensive stop by Randy Foye at the end of the game, one on one with Carmelo [Anthony].”

On Kenneth Faried’s absence affecting the game:
“It hurt our energy and they got some offensive rebounds at critical times as well. The way they came up with their lineups it would have been tough. We put Kenneth out there because [Andrea] Bargnani was the only big (center). Kenneth’s instincts like I said before the game would have had him coming in to rebound and not necessarily guard the perimeter and guard that three point line.”

Nuggets guard Nate Robinson

On five-game win streak:
“It shows toughness but also consistency and we are trying to put games together, I think we found our niche. Guys are falling into their role and are playing pretty well.”

On Randy Foye coming up big on defense:
“I know guarding Carmelo is a tough job for anybody and the way Randy Foye played defense on Carmelo was a hell of a job, he made Carmelo do a turnaround fade away jump shot at the end of the game and got a piece of it, it was great defense.”

On half-court offense:
“That’s something we are working on, we are trying to score within our offense, not just push the ball up the court. We are doing a great job of going to our third or fourth option. We are a great offensive rebounding team, Kenneth and Hickson do a great job of just grabbing offensive rebounds and we just play off that.”

Nuggets guard Randy Foye

On how he defended Carmelo Anthony on his last-second shot:
“It was a little bit similar, but he is a little bit more explosive than Dirk (Nowitzki). Dirk is just so tall and he fades away. I didn’t even jump on Dirk’s shot, I just let him shoot it. I just try to make them take an uncomfortable shot, a contested shot.”

On his made 3-pointer late in the game:
“That’s why I’m here, right? That’s his (Ty Lawson) forte, getting in the paint, creating for himself and for others. When they collapse on him, that’s why they signed me, to make shots like that.”

On the upcoming East Coast road trip:
“Just have to take it one game at a time, you can’t ever look ahead or you can lose. You can’t look ahead. You have to say we’re going in here, take it one quarter at a time and at the end of the road trip when we look back and we see how we did we can live with it.” On the confidence level of the team with their current five-game winning streak:
“Just a swag, everybody is just swagged out. Everybody just understands that you have to have a little bit of swagger and a little cockiness, not individually but as a team to say, ‘We’re coming. No matter what you do, we’re coming.’ ”

On what it says about the Nuggets guards that they’re defending bigger guys late:
“It looks crazy, but it’s harder to post up someone that is smaller. Early on, it’s easy but when they’re smaller than you and they’re pushing against you, they are taking your legs away. If I try to post up Nate (Robinson) or Ty (Lawson) it’s hard to post them up. That’s why Dre (Andre Miller) can post up bigger dudes and score on them. I just think it says a lot about our guards, but our bigs are there, too, helping us. Everyone is jabbing and faking and making sure they don’t get where they’re wanting to go, but we just have to keep them uncomfortable.”

Knicks coach Mike Woodson

On tonight’s performance:
“I thought we were a little bit better tonight. I thought the second half defensively we were great but it wasn’t enough to get over the hump. We just have to keep grinding and keep pushing. We aren’t playing too bad. We just aren’t playing for 48 minutes, we are playing in spurts. We have to get to where we aren’t playing catch-up basketball and teams are trying to play catch-up to us.”

On losing in the final seconds:
“Any loss is tough. We have lost eight games in a row. That is something, as a coach, that I haven’t experienced in a while. It is frustrating. I know it is frustrating for the guys in the locker room. But we have to stay the course and keep grinding .We have to go home and get ready for New Orleans and see if we can get off this slide.”

Knicks guard Raymond Felton

On second half performance:
“We played a much better game, we played a whole lot better. Unfortunately it didn’t go the way we wanted it to. We looked better, played much harder. I feel like we can turn this thing around.”

On Carmelo Anthony’s final shot:
“That’s the guy we want to take the shot. I couldn’t really see. I don’t know if he maybe got hit a little bit or whatever happened.”

Knicks guard/forward J.R. Smith

On losing close games:
“We’re doing the best we can. We’re staying together as much as possible, communicating between the team and coaches. Surprisingly we’re just a few plays away in these games.”

On shooting performance:
“I just missed shots. My jumper just hasn’t been there. There are situations where I have to make my teammates better, get guys open shots and keep driving to the whole. One thing I’m not going to do is stop shooting.”

On being pulled in the fourth quarter:
“I was just disappointed that I gave up a layup to Andre Miller. Coach pulled me for a second just to get my head back in the game. He’s a great coach … He just gave me a minute to get my head back in the game and go back out there and try to perform.”

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

On final shot:
“I didn’t get it done, that’s it. My teammates did a great job of putting us in position and giving me a chance to either tie the game or go for the win. I didn’t pull through tonight. I’ll take that one.”

On trying to turn around the losing streak:
“We’re trying. We’re playing much harder. We played at a must faster pace. We started trusting one another out there tonight. It’s an uphill battle. It’s a tough battle and tough hole to get out of. I think we did everything coming down the stretch to win the basketball game. I didn’t pull through for us. I’ll take this one.”

On playing against former team:
“This is where it all started for me. Seven and a half years, I got to know a lot of people here in the city and the organization. I helped get this organization off the ground along with some of the other guys that I was here with. We had some good times, some fun times here. This will always be a place that I will never forget.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Ty Lawson posted 22 points (10-12 FT) and eight assists in the win. It was the 22nd time in his career he has reached those numbers in the same game and his fourth time doing so this season.

• Lawson has now registered 20+ points and 8+ assists in seven games this season, tied for the most in the NBA with Stephen Curry.

• Lawson has now attempted 10-or-more free throws in four games this season. He has now done so 14 times in his career, with 10 of those coming since January 2013.

• J.J. Hickson tallied his third double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds tonight. Hickson ranked seventh in the NBA in 2012-13 with 40 double-doubles.

• Randy Foye dropped in a season-high tying 17 points (3-8 3FG) to go with four rebounds and four assists tonight. It was his 10th game this season with two-or-more 3s.

• Nate Robinson added 16 points (6-11 FG) in 18 minutes off the bench. He now has six straight games with 10+ points, averaging 13.2 points during this stretch.

• Carmelo Anthony posted 27 points and seven rebounds. It was his sixth game of the year reaching those numbers in the same game. Additionally, it was the 42nd game of his career with zero assists.

TEAM

• With tonight’s win, the Nuggets have now won six straight home games and 29 of their last 31 games at Pepsi Center. Additionally, Denver has now won six straight home games and nine of their last 10 at home over New York.

• The Nuggets have won five straight games overall and have gone 9-3 since they started the season 0-3.

• Denver shot 9-of-24 (.375) from beyond the arc tonight. They have now made eight-or-more 3s in seven straight games, their longest streak in franchise history (made 8+ in six straight in December 2008).

• The Nuggets allowed just 95 points tonight, moving to 5-1 on the season when holding their opponents under 100 points.

• Denver shot 26-of-34 (.765) from the free throw line tonight. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Denver is 42-16 when attempting 30+ free throws.

• The Nuggets handed out 19 assists tonight, snapping their streak of eight straight games with 22+ assists.

• Denver registered just two fast break points tonight, their fewest in a game since they scored two at New York on 12/12/10.

• The Nuggets never trailed in tonight’s win, marking their first wire-to-wire victory of the season. Denver had just one wire-to-wire win during the 2012-13 season.

• Denver’s bench outscored the Knicks’ reserves 28-23 tonight. The Nuggets bench has now outscored their opponent’s bench in 13 of their first 15 games.