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Brewer matches career-high with 27 points as Nuggets beat Lakers

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Dec. 27 2012 01:04

Hockey tradition calls for three stars to be selected after every game.

That wouldn’t have been nearly enough for the Denver Nuggets after Wednesday night’s performance against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Corey Brewer, Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala, Ty Lawson – take your pick. They were among several Nuggets standouts as Denver played with intensity and purpose during a 126-114 victory at Pepsi Center.

“Ty played with a sense of confidence. Brewer played with confidence. Gallo was out there with confidence,” Iguodala said. “When guys play with confidence, especially with our talent, it can be scary.”

Faried energized the Nuggets early with 11 points and nine rebounds in the first quarter, and Brewer closed strong with 21 of his 27 points in the game’s final 17 minutes.

Lawson added 17 points and a season-high 14 assists, while Iguodala finished three assists shy of a triple double (17 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists) as the Nuggets overcame 40 points by Kobe Bryant to end Los Angeles’ five-game win streak.

“It was just good to see us shoot the ball and beat a good team with some confidence,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “I thought Ty was sensational. It’s the best he’s played all year. He’s had some cockiness to his handle. We just need him to duplicate that about 45 more times.”

Less than 24 hours after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas, the Nuggets (16-14) had a bounce in their step, converting 20 offensive rebounds into 25 second-chance points.

They also found their outside shooting touch, something that’s been lacking in the first eight weeks of the season.

Brewer set a career-high with six 3-pointers – all in the second half – and Gallinari hit 3-of-5 shots from behind the arc, including a dagger that helped keep the Lakers at bay in the game’s final minutes.

“It just seemed like we were a step slow,” Bryant said. “It just seemed like we had a wheel stuck in the mud. We played old. They played with a lot of energy. We cut the deficit to six points or so, but we missed a couple of chippies and they made a couple of big ones.”

In addition to hitting big shots, the Nuggets stood up to the physical play of Lakers center Dwight Howard and forward Metta World Peace.

Howard was ejected after a hard foul on Faried with 5:02 left in the third quarter. He initially was issued a Flagrant 1, but it was upgraded to a Flagrant 2 after the officials reviewed the video.

“I wasn’t going to back down,” Faried said. “The last time we played them, Dwight had a career game (28 points, 20 rebounds) and dominated us on the glass. I wanted to go at him and show I wasn’t scared. I was going to go harder this game.”

Faried finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds. His final basket put Denver ahead by 12 with 3:15 to play, and the Lakers never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

In a fitting finish, Brewer hit two more 3s in the final 79 seconds to help the Nuggets improve to a league-best 9-1 at home.

“We’re starting to play well,” Brewer said. “We had a tough loss last night, which we were mad about, so we had to get a win.”

The Nuggets, who have played consecutive home games just once this season, close out the calendar year with back-to-back road games Friday at Dallas and Saturday at Memphis.

STAR OF THE GAME

Corey Brewer

Points 27, 9-16 FG 6-7 3FG
Rebounds 3, 2 OFF 1 DEF
Assists 1
Steals 1
Blocks 2
GAME LEADERS
Points Kobe Bryant 40
Rebounds Kenneth Faried 15
Assists Ty Lawson 14
Steals Andre Iguodala 3
Blocks Six players with 2
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried being knocked to the ground by Lakers center Dwight Howard

"I think it was a little bit of frustration. He saw my eyes. I wasn’t going to back down, I wasn’t going to try to float it. I was going to try to dunk on him."

KEY MOMENT

Gallinari, Lawson help keep Lakers at bay late in the 4th quarter

The Lakers trimmed a 15-point deficit to 7 and had a chance to get closer when Metta World Peace missed a layup with 4:03 remaining. Danilo Gallinari hit a 3 and Ty Lawson set up Kenneth Faried for an easy layup. Los Angeles never got closer than 9 the rest of the way.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach George Karl

On the satisfaction of this win:
“It was just good to see us shoot the ball and beat a good team with some confidence. I just think the last couple of games, we have been playing with a little more confidence and more awareness of how to win close games. I thought Ty [Lawson] was sensational. It’s the best he’s played all year. He’s had some cockiness to his handle. We just need him to duplicate that about 45 more times. We’ll give him five or six days off.” On if he had a star of the game:
“Kenneth [Faried] got us going in the game. His offensive rebounding in the first seven minutes was out of sight. And Kosta [Koufos] had a solid game. JaVale [McGee] gave us good numbers and had some good plays. I sometimes think our big guys don’t get enough credit. Our guys do a good job of piecing 60 or 70 minutes together. [Our big guys] usually put up big numbers as a group.”

On Corey Brewer:
“He and I were chatting before the game on how we lost him last night; probably the worst game of his year and the three ball going in has tremendous karma to it. And his defensive plays and his energy, he energizes us on the perimeter and Kenneth [Faried] energizes us in the middle. We were smart tonight. We did a good job of getting everyone in a good place on almost every possession. In the second half, we scored 70 points against them. That’s a big number.”

On if he thought the Dwight Howard foul was ruled correctly:
“I thought it was. I thought he went intentionally to endanger him [Kenneth Faried]. It looked like he [Kenneth] was pretty stunned after that and I thought it was a good call from where I was. I haven’t looked at the video yet.”

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried

On total team effort:
“We won. I’m happy. After last night’s performance on Christmas, we wanted to come out and prove a point. The last time we played them [the Lakers] they beat us by a lot. They were laughing and giggling, so we came out to prove a point tonight.”

On physicality of the game, shot taken from Dwight Howard:
““I didn’t really care. He was just mad. I was getting in his head and he couldn’t get the rebound. He wanted to, but I kept getting every rebound. It’s not like I said anything, or talked to him. I just play.”

On inspiration from last night’s loss:
“We are inspired after any loss, and then we come back home. When we come home, the home-crowd gets behind us; these fans are just amazing and it’s just fun to play.”

Nuggets forward Corey Brewer

On second half shooting:
“It was just a matter of time; we stayed confident. We missed a lot of shots that went in-and-out.”

On his third quarter play and effectiveness:
“We were pushing the pace, if you’ve got wide open shots; you’ve got to knock them down.”

On feeling it, shooting wise:
“It was one of those nights, when it started going down the basket got big.”

On tying his career high in points:
“I didn’t know what my career high in points was. I just shot the ball. No one was on me, so I was feeling it all night so I just shot the ball.”

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni

On allowing a season high of 126 points:
“The first half was the second-chance points. The main thing was that the first half was that we held them to 41 percent shooting in the first half and they got 57 points on the board; they had 17 second-chance points and they ended up with 25 second-chance points. You can’t play a team on the road, time after time, and just stop them and they get the rebound and put it back in. You can’t do it. ”

On whether it was because of hustling or positioning:
“You’ll have to ask them, I don’t know. Whatever it was, we didn’t come up with the ball. So somebody did something and we didn’t do it.” On the [Dwight] Howard ejection:
“I saw it live but I didn’t see it on tape. They are good at looking at the tape and figuring it out.”

On a late comeback:
“Well they had some nice shots. Corey Brewer was really good tonight and we missed some key shots, we missed some layups, we missed a three, which might have gotten us over the hump a little bit. You can’t just keep coming back; you can’t just keep letting them score. For whatever reason, they just had legs more than we did. Whether they are younger or faster, I don’t know but we couldn’t keep in front of us.”

On Kenneth Faried:
“Well, he is one of the best in the league. That’s what he does. You have to give him credit. He was all over the ball; second effort all over the place. I thought we could expend some more energy out there. We could have done a better job. If we had done a better job, we would have been up at the half. When you are up ten, you take threes. They are easier than when you are done five or six. You have to make them so we let them out of the bag. We didn’t play well and we have to go on to the next game.”

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

On Dwight Howard’s foul:
“I think it is the right call. I don’t think it was extensive enough to warrant a one-game suspension. I believe it was a flagrant 2.”

On the loss:
“Tonight it just seemed like we were a step slow. It just seemed like we had a wheel stuck in the mud. We played old. They played with a lot of energy. It was like we were in a lower gear all night. It’s a little bit more alarming now because of the way we started the season. We cut the deficit to six points or so but we missed a couple of chippies and they made a couple of big ones. Tonight was just a tough one.”

Lakers center Dwight Howard

On his ejection:
“It was a hard foul. That’s all I know. I’ve been fouled harder than that before and nobody’s ever gotten kicked out of the game for it but I get penalized for fouling people hard. It’s basketball.”

On if the game would have been different if he hadn’t been ejected:
“Anything could have happened out there. I don’t think our effort as a team was there tonight. They just played harder than us.”

On giving up second-chance points:
“They ran the floor. We turned the ball over a lot. They were able to capitalize on it.”

On the loss:
“It’s over. There is no need to keep this in our heads. We just need to give a better effort.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Corey Brewer scored a team-high 27 points tonight, including shooting 6-of-7 from behind the arc. The 27 points tie a career high while the six three-pointers are a new career high, besting his previous high of five (accomplished twice). It is the fifth time this season he has led the team in scoring.

• Ty Lawson scored 17 points and dished out 14 assists while recording zero turnovers. It is the most assists Lawson has had in his career without committing a turnover. Additionally, Lawson becomes the first Nugget to record 14+ assists with zero turnovers since Nick Van Exel on 1/24/02 vs. DAL (15 assists, 0 turnovers). He is only the third player in the NBA this season to accomplish that feat (Jose Calderon, AJ Price). The effort is also good for his second double-double this season and 17th of his career.

• Kenneth Faried scored 21 points while coming down with 15 rebounds in tonight’s win, including nine offensive boards. It marks the second time in his career that he has scored 20+ points and recorded 15+ rebounds in the same game (previous – 4/9/12 vs. GSW, 27 points, 17 rebounds). It is the fourth time in his career that he has had nine-or-more offensive rebounds (Nuggets 3-1).

• By scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the first quarter, Faried became the first Nugget since Antonio McDyess on 12/14/99 @ SEA to score 11+ points and nine-or-more rebounds in a quarter.

• Kosta Koufos scored 10 points in tonight’s contest on 4-of-6 shooting. In the last four games Koufos has shot 23-of 27 (.851). He has now scored 10+ in three-straight games, tying the longest streak in his career (4/9/11 – 4/13/11).

• Andre Iguodala registered 17 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists in tonight’s victory. It is only the ninth time in his career that he has reached those numbers in the same game (last time – 11/10/12 @ GSW).

• Kobe Bryant scored 40 points for the Lakers tonight, the 116th time in his career he has scored 40+. Bryant has now scored at least 30 points in 10-straight games.

TEAM

• The Nuggets beat the Lakers 126-114 tonight. The Nuggets have now won nine of their last 13 home games over the Lakers. Additionally, it was just the third time since 1993 that the Nuggets have scored 126-or-more against the Lakers (3-0).

• Denver’s 126 points is a season-high, their 39 points in the third is a season-high for points in a quarter and their 69 second-half points are a season-high for points in a half.

• Three Nuggets registered double-doubles in tonight’s win (Faried, Iguodala, Lawson) for the first time this season. Denver had two-such games in the 2011-12 season, going 2-0 in those games (3/30/12 at CHA and 1/21/12 at NYK).

• The Nuggets connected on a season-high 12 three-pointers and are now 2-1 when hitting 10-or-more. Denver was 1-of-7 from beyond the arc in the first half and 11-of-15 in the second.

• Denver handed out 31 assists and are now 3-0 on the season when handing out 30+ assists.

• Tonight was the first time this season that all five Nuggets starters scored 10-plus points.

• The Nuggets registered 10 steals tonight, moving to 7-1 when accomplishing this.

• Denver outrebounded LA 48-to-38, while also collecting 20 offensive boards. The Nuggets are now 5-1 when grabbing 20+ offensive rebounds and are now 7-1 at home when outrebounding their opponent at home.