Print RSS Newsletter

Turnovers doom short-handed Nuggets in loss to Raptors

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Jan. 31, 2014 23:11

Staying physically healthy has been a challenge for the Nuggets this season. The big test going forward will be staying mentally focused.

Hours after losing their second player in 10 days to season-ending knee surgery, the Nuggets looked like they had a cloud hanging over them Friday night against the Toronto Raptors.

Denver committed a season-high 26 turnovers that led to 29 Toronto points as the Raptors rolled to a 100-90 victory at Pepsi Center.

The loss came in the wake of news that reserve guard Nate Robinson had surgery Friday to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Teammate Danilo Gallinari underwent a similar procedure on Jan. 21.

“It’s frustrating,” Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson said. “I’d be lying if I said everything was good. It’s definitely frustrating for us as a team and it’s got to be frustrating for the coaching staff. But we have to get it done. We can’t sit back and make excuses. We have to win games with or without certain guys. I think throughout the rest of the season. We’ll find a way to get it done because if we don’t, it means no playoffs.”

Denver also played without starting point guard Ty Lawson for the second game in a row as he recovers from a strained left rotator cuff.

Filling in at the point for Lawson, Randy Foye finished with a career-high 16 assists, but he also had eight turnovers in a season-high 43 minutes. Evan Fournier added 18 points, along with seven turnovers in a season-high 39 minutes.

“They’re not accustomed to playing that many minutes, so when they start getting tired, then we start losing our fundamentals and throwing the ball all over the place,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “That was our biggest thing tonight. I thought that we fought; it didn’t look like it at times, but we played hard.”

The Nuggets (22-23) were within two points early in the second half, but they committed nine turnovers over the final 7:42 of the third quarter and trailed by 16 heading to the fourth. The Raptors pushed the advantage to as many as 25 and were never seriously threatened as they won in Denver for the first time since Dec. 30, 2003.

Hickson finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, who finished 8-7 in January after back-to-back home losses.

NOTES: Foye had 11 assists in the first half, most by a Nuggets player in a half since Steve Blake had 11 on Feb. 14, 2007 . . . Hickson has had a double-double in 12 of his last 23 games.


NUGGETS STAR OF THE GAME

J. J. Hickson

Points 18 7-10 FG, 4-8 FT
Rebounds 13, 3 OFF 10 DEF
Assists 4
Steals 1
Blocks 0
GAME LEADERS
Points DeMar DeRozen 19
Rebounds J. J. Hickson 13
Assists Randy Foye 16
Steals Six players with 2
Blocks Kenneth Faried 4
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets guard Randy Foye on losing teammate Nate Robinson to knee surgery

“I definitely miss Nate. He’s a great guy, keeps the locker room going. It’s a little more quiet, but at the same time, we miss the noise that he makes. He’s an unbelievable guy and a great kid."

KEY MOMENT

Raptors close third quarter strong to gain separation

After the Nuggets pulled to 62-60 early in the third quarter, the Raptors called timeout and responded with a 24-10 run over the final 8:46. Denver committed nine of their 26 turnovers in that span.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On if this game was a turnover story:
“Yeah, that’s the biggest, most glaring thing when you look at the stat sheet… 26 turnovers for 29 points. A big part of that is some of the guys that were asking to be playmakers right now in Ty’s absence and even in Nate’s absence, they’re used to being recipients and Ty sets the table; he does all the penetrating and they just basically have to catch and shoot. Now they’re in a position where they have to set the table and make plays.”

On if fatigue was a factor:
“Fatigue – Randy played 43 minutes, Evan – 38 minutes and they’re not accustomed to playing that many minutes as well so when they start getting tired, then we start losing our fundamentals and throwing the ball all over the place so that was our biggest thing tonight. I thought that we fought; it didn’t look like it at times but we played hard. They were tired, they were worn down, I was asking them to do things that they’re not accustomed to doing but as I said we’re not going to make any mistakes. We still have enough to play better and get it done but in order to do that and get it done we can’t have as many mistakes as we had in terms of turnovers, in terms of missed finishes right at the basket. To start the third quarter, I think we were down seven at halftime, we came out and got stops and I think we missed our first few possessions. I think we missed five point blank layups right at the rim. When you couple not finishing with turnovers that were given and the fatigue on top of that, you know it’s going to be tough for us.”

On what the Nuggets have to do moving forward:
“We don’t want anybody to feel sorry for us and we won’t feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to continue to fight, stay positive, keep working and just be more fundamentally sound. That’s all we can do.”

Nuggets guard Randy Foye

On career-high 16 assists
"I had too many turnovers. I just felt as though last game I could tell the way they did the scouting report is the expected me to come out and be extremely aggressive, so every time I drove, I saw everybody collapsing.

On losing teammates to injuries:
It’s tough because I’m in position to playmake. I don’t have a problem with it, but I kind of think about it when I come off screens. ‘Should I take this shot or should I get these guys involved?’ My thing is to be aggressive and play, but there’s no excuses. We lost the game in that little five-minute stretch when we had seven turnovers. You just have to be ready to work next game.

Not having Nate Robinson:
I definitely miss Nate. He’s a great guy, keeps the locker room going. It’s a little more quiet but at the same time, we miss the noise that he makes. He’s an unbelievable guy and a great kid.

Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson

On tonight’s game:
“It was tough for us tonight. One of the first thing coach told us during preseason and training camp was that we are not an excuse team, we have guys out but that doesn’t mean other guys can’t step up. When guys like Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson are banged up it’s hard to fill that void but if everybody does a little bit more we can make up for it.”

On injuries through the season:
“It’s frustrating for us as a team but we have to get it done, we can’t sit back and wait for Ty Lawson to come back, we have to win games. Throughout the rest of the season we will find a way to get it done. We have been battling through adversity the whole season with guys being out. We will find a way to get it done.”

Nuggets guard Evan Fournier

On tonight’s game:
“Everybody is very frustrated, Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson not playing is tough for us but we cannot make excuses. We just have to keep playing, it does not matter who is on the court we have to stay together. We played without a true point guard tonight but we have to keep playing.”

On playing through fatigue:
“I’m beat up but if I want to be someone in this league I will have to play through my fatigue every night. I want to be that type of player and become a good player in this league. I want to have a great career and become a champion in this league.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey

On tonight’s performance:
“We didn’t finish out the game like we should have. We will take the w, but it was not a quality finish. I let the players know that I was disappointed in the close. You can’t come in and feel like you have the game won with a 20 point lead. You have to continue to execute, be strong with the ball and continue to execute defensively if you want to be serious about winning in this league. Until you grow up and do that, you’re going to end up on the short side of things more times than not. ”

On defending the Nuggets pick-and-roll:
“We did a better job in the third quarter. Fourth quarter they still shot 45 percent and could have had more if they didn’t have those turnovers at the end. We can’t be satisfied with the way we played in the fourth quarter.”

On how they reversed their earlier loss:
“They didn’t have some of their key guys. They didn’t have Ty Lawson and [Andre] Miller, who are some of the guys that kicked our behind last time. But, the guys that did kick our behind [tonight] also kicked our behind in Toronto, which is disappointing. We were not physical in the paint. If we want to be a serious team in the playoffs, we have to become more physical in the paint and not get pushed around and give up easy buckets in the paint.”

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry:

On finishing the game out better:
“We have to finish games better than that. No matter what we can’t with a lead like that just say ‘we won the game.’ This is the NBA. Teams are going to make a run. We’re not going to let it be negative, we won the game, but we want to finish stronger than that.”

On total team effort:
“That’s what a team does. I didn’t have it in the first half. DeMar [DeRozan] was coming off an ankle injury. We have Terrance [Ross] and Jonas [Valanciunas] and Tyler played great. We have guys that can pick up the slack. In the third quarter me and DeMar got that rhythm and we got it going a little.”

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan

On getting back into rhythm:
“I didn’t want to try and force myself early on. I just wanted to fit in with the guys and what they’ve been doing the last two games. I tried to get my rhythm back and I just picked it up in the third quarter.”

On Terrence Ross’ dunk on Kenneth Faried:
“That has to be a nomination for dunk of the year so far, especially on a guy like that. That was big. I sure wouldn’t have dunked it.”

On playing the Nuggets without their key guards:
“We understood that and we tried to force them into their weak hand as much as we can and put pressure on that and just meet them at the rim. The bigs did a great job with that. It went our way tonight.”

On defensive effort:
“Playing defense. Playing defense and playing together. That’s all we’ve been doing. If we do what we have to do on the defensive end we’ll get easy shots, we can get any shot we want.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Randy Foye registered 10 points and a career-high 16 assists tonight (previous high was 14 at DET on 11/23/08). His eight turnovers is also a new career-high. It was the eighth overall double-double of his career and sixth point/assist double-double of his career.

• Foye dished out 11 of his assists in the first half, the most in a half by a Nugget since Steve Blake had 11 in the first half at MIN on 2/14/07.

• JJ Hickson recorded 18 points and 13 rebounds. It was his 17th double-double of the year, tied with Ty Lawson for most overall by a Nugget this season.

• Kenneth Faried tallied 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks tonight. It is the seventh time in his career he has had 4+ blocks and third time while doing so with at least 12 points.

• Terrence Ross scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting for Toronto. It was just the third time in his career he has shot 70%-or-better from the field, and the first time doing so with 9+ points. Ross is averaging 22.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in his last four games.

TEAM

• Tonight’s loss snaps the Nuggets’ nine-game home streak over Toronto. The Raptors have now won three of the last 14 games they’ve played in Denver. The Nuggets have gone 15-4 overall against the Raptors in the past 10 seasons.

• After scoring 53 points on 56 percent shooting in the first half, the Nuggets scored just 37 points on 34 percent shooting in the second half.

• The Nuggets cut the lead to two points (62-60) with 8:45 to play in the third before Toronto went on a 35-12 run to put the game out of reach.

• Denver committed a season-high 26 turnovers tonight, their most in a game since they had 27 vs. SAC on 1/4/12. It was just the third time since 2003 they have 26-or-more turnovers.

• The Nuggets ended the third quarter with eight turnovers on their last 11 possessions.

• Tonight was the Nuggets 14th straight game with at least seven made three-pointers, the longest active streak in the NBA.

• All five Denver starters scored in double-figures for the seventh time this season. Denver is 4-3 in those games.

• The Raptors shot 18-of-20 (.900) from the free throw line tonight. It was the fourth time this season a Nuggets’ opponent has shot 90 percent-or-better from the free throw line (Denver is 1-3 in those games).