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Seven score in double figures as Nuggets crush Magic

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Jan. 11, 2014 23:18

On a Sunday evening near Hollywood, the Denver Nuggets hit 12 3-pointers against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Little did anyone know, it was simply their opening act.

The Nuggets followed their dandy dozen with 14 3-pointers against the Boston Celtics, 14 against the Oklahoma City Thunder and 12 more Saturday night against the Orlando Magic. It is the first time in team history that they have hit at least 12 in four straight games.

More importantly, Denver extended its winning streak to five games, beating the Magic 120-94 at Pepsi Center.

“We’re treating each game like it’s the playoffs; every guy is coming in getting extra shots up and watching more film,” Nuggets guard Nate Robinson said. “That’s going to help us get through the season. Guys are playing better and we are having fun sharing the ball. When basketball is fun, you will be surprised at what you can do. It’s just magical.”

Quincy Miller, starting his second straight game in place of Wilson Chandler (left hip strain), posted his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Randy Foye and Evan Fournier added 18 points each as seven Nuggets scored in double-figures.

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson fell two assists short of his sixth straight double-double. He had 16 points and eight assists in 30 minutes. With the game in hand, he sat out the entire fourth quarter.

J.J. Hickson joined Lawson on the bench down the stretch; he had 13 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes. The Nuggets led by 22 points at halftime and Orlando never got closer than 16 in the second half.

“They showed that they have killer instinct that got (the Magic) down and kept them down pretty much the entire night,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “I’m happy with where our team is right now.”

The Nuggets (19-17) are clicking at both ends of the floor. Defensively, they are challenging shots at the rim, disrupting the pick-and-roll and limiting second-chance opportunities.

The improved defense has allowed Denver to get out in the open court, creating easy opportunities in the paint and open looks from the 3-point line.

As a team, the Nuggets are 61-for-141 (.433) from beyond the arc during their five-game winning streak. Over that stretch, they are averaging 119.6 points, with an average margin of victory of 19 points.

“They’re staying hungry,” Shaw said. “They’re staying active. Defensively, our activity is off the charts. We don’t seem to be getting too full of ourselves. We’ve seemed to respond and show some maturity as we go. I just want to see it continue.”

INJURY UPDATE: In addition to Chandler, Nuggets F Anthony Randolph sat out with sprained left ankle. Teammate Darrell Arthur left the game in the third quarter with a left groin strain and didn't return.


STAR OF THE GAME

Quincy Miller

Points 16 5-13 FG, 6-6 FT
Rebounds 11, 2 OFF 9 DEF
Assists 1
Steals 1
Blocks 2
GAME LEADERS
Points Tobias Harris 22
Rebounds Quincy Miller 11
Assists Ty Lawson 8
Steals Kenneth Faried 2
Blocks Jordan Hamilton, Quincy Miller 2
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw on start-to-finish performance vs. Orlando

“I challenged our team to show some killer instinct and to be aware of the fact that if we don’t come away with the win, the game against Oklahoma City the other night means absolutely nothing."

KEY MOMENT

Kenneth Faried denies Tobias Harris as the rim

The Magic were trying to gain some traction in the third quarter when Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried stuffed Tobias Harris on a dunk attempt. Denver went on a 12-1 run shortly thereafter to build a 27-point lead.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On tonight’s game:
“(It was a) good effort. (We had) great balance from our starting five and even our guys on the bench still got contributions from every direction. (We are) doing a great job on the boards, sharing the ball and because of that (we are) shooting the ball very well right now during the streak. (I am) happy with the fact that our guys didn’t let their guard down against this team tonight. Based on the situation and the injuries they’re having to deal with and them going through a bad streak right now, I challenged our team to show some killer instinct tonight and to be aware of the fact that if we don’t come away with the win tonight, the game against Oklahoma City [Thunder] the other night means absolutely nothing. They responded, they came out, they showed that they have killer instinct that got them down and kept them down pretty much the entire night so I’m happy with where our team is right now.”

On Quincy Miller’s play tonight:
“He’s getting opportunities. He’s making the most of it. He’s getting more and more confident the more time he gets out there on the floor so this is great for him. Darrell [Arthur] went out at the end of the game; he has a groin strain, so we don’t know how long that’ll last. Now our numbers are getting down. We don’t know when we’re getting Wilson [Chandler] back so we always say stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. He’s been ready, he’s worked hard and like I said he’s making the most of his opportunities.”

On Quincy Miller’s length causing a problem for the opposing team:
“Yeah, definitely. That’s a part of his game tonight that I’m most proud of or happy for him on the defensive end in terms of him getting the scheme being where he was supposed to be and putting himself in position to make those couple of blocks that he was able to make. There were another couple of times where he changed and altered their shots as well. Having that length and his versatility, when he does rebound, being able to push the ball out and make plays down at the other end so it’s great for our team.”

Nuggets guard Nate Robinson

On winning streak:
“We had a slide of an eight game losing streak but we got focus and now we won five in a row and I hope we can keep it going. We are treating each game like it’s the playoffs; every guy is coming in getting extra shots up and watching more film. That’s going to help us get through the season. Guys are playing better and we are having fun sharing the ball. When basketball is fun you will be surprised of what you can do. It’s just magical.”

On Quincy Miller:
“He is stepping up for Wilson Chandler and did a great job tonight. He has so much potential, it was fun seeing him have his first double-double of his career and I’m proud of him.”

On road trip:
“We got great momentum going out there on the road. We have to take care of Utah and go in there building play hard and continue to play Denver Nuggets basketball.”

Nuggets forward Quincy Miller

On if he feels he has taken advantage of the opportunity to earn more playing time:
“There is definitely an opportunity for me to show what I can do with Wilson (Chandler) being out, just show the coaches they have insurance. I’ve just been staying focused, just really wanting it. I really want to play. I really want to get better every game so I’m just staying focused.”

On if getting his first start against Oklahoma City and being matched up with Kevin Durant helped tonight:
“Yeah, for sure. It helped me relax a lot because KD is one of the best scorers ever. I held him to 30 when he had been scoring 48, so I was pretty happy about that, but still there is more work to be done.”

On if the biggest adjustment with increased minutes has been offensively or defensively:
“Defensively. Offensively it isn’t really a problem because I’m going to score, but defensively just knowing where to be at and what time. Getting better on defense is my main focus right now. The offense is going to come, so I just have to stay focused on defense. I think I did all right tonight. I was in the right spot most of the time. I made a few mistakes here and there, but Coach still gave me an opportunity because he know I was trying to do the right thing.”

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn

On tonight’s performance:
“It was a challenge the entire night. At halftime [the Nuggets] only had six 3s, so we had that part under control a little bit. But their ability to get downhill and get in transition provided some problems for us. They have multiple guys that can get in the paint. It was difficult for us tonight. We gave what we had.”

On if the Nuggets size up front posed an issue tonight:
“They have two waves of size. They are already pretty potent with [Kenneth] Faried and J.J Hickson together. Then, you bring [Timofey] Mozgov and [Darrell] Arthur off the bench. They are active and relentless on the boards. It definitely was a problem for us.”

On how he motivated the team when the Nuggets got into their rhythm:
“You continue to tell them that this game is about creating habits, so you push through. Someone is going to try and get an offensive rebound in Dallas, so the same offensive rebound we allowed tonight we can’t allow in Dallas. You are creating those habits that you can do things positively and the right thing over and over again.”

Magic forward Tobias Harris:

On loss to Denver Nuggets:
“They are a fast-paced team. They have good tempo. They pushed it all night on us. It’s tough for us to get stops versus them. It was a real tough game for us tonight … We could’ve been more focused to detail a little bit. They made tough shots in the beginning. They had a big first quarter.”

On frustration of losing:
“It’s real frustrating. First off we’ve been losing. Secondly a lot of our guys are hurt right now. For us as a team we have to stay together and stay positive. We have another one in Dallas and we have to have a better mindset going into the game and better focus.”

On ankle injury affecting play:
“It took a big toll on me. I’m still fighting through pain in my ankle day-in, every game. It’s just going to be a thing that’s probably going to last all year. On days that we do get off its beneficial for me to have rest for my body. I just have to keep fighting. I’m a fighter and I’m just going to be tough throughout this whole season and just continue to find my niche out there on the court.”

Orlando guard Jameer Nelson

On finger injury:
“I’m not sure what happened. It hurt a couple games ago. I’ve just been playing through it. I guess it caught up. I don’t know what particular play or who but it was enough pain for me to ask for X-rays. I’ll just listen to my body. Hopefully the pain goes away a little bit tomorrow. With a day off I’ll get some rest, regroup and gather ourselves.”

On six game losing streak:
“We just have to keep fighting. This is our job and we can’t just lay down. We have to go out and play hard and do it together. There’s opportunity for other guys to play and opportunity for guys to make a name for themselves a little bit in terms of guys who don’t get as much time.”

On players’ roles with injury issues:
“There’s no excuses. Right now we’re tremendously undersized. Guys have to play different positions out of their role. We’re asking guys to do things that they haven’t done before. It’s no different. You just go play hard and try to figure it out. The main thing is you have to play harder than the other team. We have to do it for longer spurts than we did tonight.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Quincy Miller posted career-highs with 16 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and 36 minutes in the second start of his career (also started vs. OKC on 1/9). In his two career starts, Miller is averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.00 blocks in 28.0 minutes.

• Randy Foye posted 18 points to go with four rebounds and four assists. Foye is averaging 18.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 20-of-37 (.541) from deep in his last five games.

• Evan Fournier scored 18 points (7-8 FG) and connected on all three of his three-point attempts. Fournier has scored in double-figures in four of his last five games, averaging 13.4 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting .581 (25-43 FG) from the field and .600 (12-20 3FG) from long range during this stretch.

• Ty Lawson recorded 16 points and eight assists while shooting 4-of-5 from three-point range. It’s the ninth time in his career he has made at least four threes while shooting 80%-or-better from beyond the arc.

• Timofey Mozgov tallied 14 points and nine boards off the bench. It is the eighth time in his career he has had 14+ points and 9+ rebounds, with six of those coming this season.

• Tobias Harris totaled 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists for Orlando. It was his sixth career game with 22+ points and 9+ rebounds, and third time doing so with four-or-more assists.

TEAM

• The Nuggets earned their fourth-straight home win and fifth straight win overall. Denver has now won five straight and 10 of their last 11 home games over the Magic.

• Denver has won four straight games by at least 13 points, tying their longest such streak in franchise history (have won four straight games by 13+ on three other occasions).

• Denver has led by at least 25 points in each of their last four games, their longest such streak since the NBA began tracking ‘biggest lead’ in 2003-04.

• The Nuggets connected on 12-of-28 (.429) from long range tonight. They have now made 12+ threes in four straight games, their longest streak in team history and tied for the fourth longest streak in NBA history (three teams previously made 12+ threes in five straight games).

• Denver is shooting a combined 52-of-119 (.437) from beyond the arc over their last four games.

• The Nuggets dished out 30 assists tonight, the third time in their last four games with 30+ assists. Denver has now won 45 consecutive games when registering 30+ helpers.

• Denver shot .506 (44-87 FG) from the field tonight, the fourth time in their last five games they’ve shot over 50%. Denver is now 8-0 on the season when shooting 50%-or-better from the field.

• The Nuggets scored a season-high 69 first-half points and have now scored 60+ points in the first half in four straight games.

• Denver had seven players score 13+ points tonight, the first time accomplishing this since 4/11/11 vs. GSW.