Mozgov matches career-high, Chandler returns to lead Nuggets past Lakers

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Nov. 14, 2013 00:21

It was Timo Time at Pepsi Center.

Timo scoring in the low post. Timo attacking the glass. Timo swatting shots. Timo beating the shot-clock with a high-arcing set shot.

With center JaVale McGee sidelined with a stress fracture in his left tibia, Timofey Mozgov filled the void in the middle, and Wilson Chandler made a triumphant season debut for the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Mozgov matched his career-high with 23 points, while Chandler hit four 3-pointers as the Nuggets ran past the Los Angeles Lakers 111-99 to give coach Brian Shaw a victory over his former team.

“I think (Mozgov) was part of the Russian mob tonight. I loved it,” Denver forward Kenneth Faried said. “That’s the Timo we need and that’s the Timo I would love to have each and every game. Guys get hurt, and he really stepped up tonight. It’s an honor to have that Timo.”

Mozgov, who scored 23 points while playing for the New York Knicks on Jan. 30, 2011, also showed his toughness. He took an inadvertent elbow to the chin while defending Jordan Hill late in the third quarter, but rose to his feet and knocked down two free throws after being fouled on Denver’s ensuing possession.

“He looked like a good old Russian boxer,” teammate Nate Robinson said. “Take one in the chin and keep fighting.”

Mozgov was one of several standouts for the Nuggets, who improved to 3-4 by winning consecutive games for the first time this season.

Chandler, who strained his left hamstring on the second day of training camp, shook off some early rust by scoring 12 points off the bench. He also had five rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes.

“I was tired,” Chandler said. “A couple layups I would’ve normally made I couldn’t finish. It’s just a process. I expected to be winded.”

Faried added 23 points and 13 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. The Nuggets finished with 23 offensive rebounds, leading to 36 second-chance points – the highest total they’ve had since the NBA began tracking the statistic in 2003.

“We were getting after it,” Faried said. “We wanted to attack them. Coach said they’re 0-5 this season when they get outrebounded. We made it 0-6.”

The Nuggets also scored a season-high 111 points, which was even more impressive considering they missed their first seven shots from the field. The Lakers took advantage by jumping out to a 8-0 lead, but Denver went on a 15-2 run over a 2:54 stretch of the first quarter and never trailed the rest of the way.

With Los Angeles still hanging around midway through the fourth quarter, the Nuggets put the game out of reach with a 10-0 run featuring two 3-pointers from Chandler.

“It didn’t look like he really missed a beat,” Shaw said. “I thought he looked pretty good and obviously it makes us a little bit of a different team with him out there.”

The Lakers also are a different team from the one Shaw once knew so well.

Shaw was a member of L.A.’s back-to-back-back championship teams from 2000-02, and he served as an assistant coach when the Lakers added two more titles in 2009 and 2010.

“It’s three years removed for me now, so most of the people I was affiliated with aren’t there anymore,” he said. “There isn’t much of a connection in terms of that.”

Shaw quickly is making connections with his new team as a first-time head coach. He is learning each player’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as which lineup combinations work best together.

On Wednesday night, he learned something else.

The Nuggets thrive during Timo Time.

STAR OF THE GAME

Timofey Mozgov

Points 23 8-12 FG, 7-9 FT
Rebounds 9, 2 OFF 7 DEF
Assists 0
Steals 0
4Blocks 4

GAME LEADERS

Points Pau Gasol 25
Rebounds Jordan Hill 15
Assists Steve Blake 11
Steals Wesley Johnson 3, Ty Lawson 3
Blocks Jordan Hill 5

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov on being elbowed in the chin by Jordan Hill

“It’s (a) basketball game. It’s a real man’s game. You just have to keep playing if you can."

KEY MOMENT

Chandler hits two 3s as part of late 10-0 run

The Lakers trailed by six with 7 minutes remaining when Wilson Chandler hit a 3-pointer to spark a 10-0 run over a 1:56 span. Los Angeles never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On Nuggets defense:

“I thought our defense was good. We had a segment in the second quarter where we didn’t rebound real well. We let Jordan Hill keep them in the game with his offensive rebounds but other than that I thought we got the ball out, we ran and thought we were physical inside. We got awarded a lot of free throws because of that. We played big and pretty much just dominated inside and kept the pressure on them by running the floor. ”

On Timofey Mozgov's performance:
“We know he has it in him. I am glad he was able to put it together like that. It will help his confidence and it is something he can really build on because he played against a good big guy in Pau Gasol. Defensively he blocked a couple shots, he also had nine rebounds and I think he tied his career-high. He just played a great all-around game.”

On Wilson Chandler’s season debut:
“I thought he did well. He played 21 minutes. We were going to try and keep it around the 20 minute mark. I thought there were a couple times he got fatigued, but that’s to be expected. Like I said, he was four of seven from the 3. It didn’t look like he really missed a beat. He strained his hamstring 5 minutes into the first practice on the first day of training camp, so this is his first extensive run like this. Even in the last couple days of practice he didn’t play as much as he played tonight. I thought he looked pretty good and obviously it makes us a little bit of a different team with him out there.”

Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson

On the most complete game of the season:
“Yes I think so. I think the Lakers rebounded the ball well in the first half but in the second half we made it a point to get defensive rebounds and it kept them out of the game. We played harder than they did, and we got the win. We have to be teammates. The fact that we don’t have a superstar on the team, we have to play hard and play together as a team. We’ve been doing that the last couple of games and it’s been paying off.”

On Timofey Mozgov’s performance:
“Timo is playing great. It’s great to see a guy work hard on certain things and to see him actually do it in the game. He had great defense and an all-around good game.”

On challenges of playing the four or five position:
“It’s a challenge playing any position. I’m just trying to win my matchup but I know I have help behind me. Me playing at the 5 I’m definitely undersized, but it’s something I’m used to. It doesn’t really matter what position I play.”

Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler

On first game of season

“I was tired. My legs, I missed a couple layups I would’ve normally made. It’s just a process. I expected to be winded.”

On win over Lakers:
“We played good all around. We gave up too many offensive rebounds, but as far as team basketball I think it was pretty spread out and our bigs had a pretty good game.”

On teammate Timofey Mozgov
“Once the coaching staff works with him and the more patient they are with him, I think he’ll be even better. It’s a tough thing last year. He didn’t really play. With JaVale (McGee) out, he’ll play a lot of minutes.”

On the team coming together
:
“With everybody healthy, we’re a pretty good team. We can play with the best of them. It’s hard playing with a couple guys out. One guy comes in, another one goes out. You just have to have people step up and play that much harder.”

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni

On what caused the loss tonight:

“There were different stages. First we started off and didn’t guard the basket. I think [the Nuggets] got 22 points in the paint in the first quarter. They just came at us and we didn’t react very well to their speed and their athleticism. That was probably the occurring theme throughout the game, their athleticism. They just beat us to the ball and second chance points. We would do a decent job at defending once we got them stopped and set up. But their foot speed was just more than ours most if the time.”

On the Nuggets 23 offensive rebounds:
“They are good at it. That is what [Kenneth] Faried does, along with [Timofey] Mozgov and [Jordan] Hamilton. That is why they are there. They are good at it. We know that. They were good at it last year and are good at it this year. We just have to keep battling. I don’t want to make excuses, but this was a back-to-back game. You get in late and our legs weren’t there all the time. But, you have to give [the Nuggets] credit.”

On if losing momentum late in the game is a concern:
“I’m not concerned, those are things that when Kobe [Bryant] comes back will be taken care of. We have to do a better job of finding solutions and finding guys that are going to step up. We need to hit shots as a team.”

Lakers forward Jordan Hill

On Nuggets offensive rebounding:

“They just kept getting offensive board after offensive board. We definitely have to help each other out. We did that against the Pelicans but we came out tonight and didn’t show it. Luckily we have more games to go but we still work to do and we just have to work on it.”

On own performance:
“I know I can play. I’m just going out there and doing what I have to do when I get minutes and have fun with it, just keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

Lakers guard Steve Blake

On final five minutes:

“They started dominating the offensive boards and getting out in transition off of our offensive turnovers. If you give this team momentum at home they take full advantage of it and that’s what happened.”

On Jordan Hill:
“He’s been doing that all training camp and in practice. It’s not a surprise to us. He’s just now getting the opportunity and making the best of it. He’s a workhorse. When we take shots he knows how to put himself in position to get rebounds. So that’s a big advantage we can use.”

On Memphis Grizzlies:
“They are a very good team. It starts with their bigs. (Marc) Gasol and Zach Randolph down at the post are one of the best big combinations in the league. They have (Mike) Conely who is a really good point guard. We have to try to keep them off the boards and off the free-throw line.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Timofey Mozgov posted 23 points (8-12 FG), nine rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes tonight. His 23 points and four blocks tied his career-highs.

• Additionally, Mozgov is one of two players in the NBA this season to reach 23+ points, 9+ rebounds and 4+ blocks in the same game (Anthony Davis also did so on 11/8 vs. LAL).

• Kenneth Faried recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds in 30 minutes. He has now recorded 15+ points and 13+ rebounds in consecutive games for the first time in his career. Tonight was Faried’s 46th career double-double and his 29th at home (27-2).

• Ty Lawson posted 19 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals tonight. It was just the second time in his career he has reached all those numbers in the same game.

• Wilson Chandler made his season debut tonight, posting 12 points (4-7 3FG) and five rebounds in 21 minutes. It was the 17th time in his career he has made four-or-more threes in a game.

• Pau Gasol tallied 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers tonight. It was the 54th time in his career he has posted those numbers in the same game.

TEAM

• The Nuggets earned their first back-to-back wins of the season with a 111-99 victory over the L.A. Lakers. It was Denver’s fourth straight win overall against the Lakers (ties their franchise best streak against the Lakers) and their third straight at home.

• Denver has also now won 11 of their last 15 home games over the Lakers.

• The Nuggets’ 111 points sets a new season-high, and they have won 45 of their last 46 home games when scoring 100-or-more points.

• Denver recorded 36 second chance points tonight, the most by the Nuggets since the NBA began tracking second chance points in 2003. The Nuggets are 26-5 in their last 31 games when posting more second chance points than their opponent.

• The Nuggets committed just nine turnovers tonight, their second game this season with under 10 turnovers. Denver is 15-5 since the start of the 2011-12 season when turning the ball over fewer than 10 times.

• Denver’s 58 rebounds is a new season-high and their third game of the year with 50+ boards. Their 23 offensive rebounds was also a new season-high and their most in a game since 12/3/12 vs. TOR.