Balanced attack leads Sixers past Nuggets

By The Associated Press

Posted Jan. 1, 2013 23:07

DENVER (AP) -- Evan Turner scored 23 points and Thaddeus Young added 17, helping the Philadelphia 76ers beat the slumping Denver Nuggets 114-102 on Wednesday night.

The Sixers had seven different players score in double figures en route to their second straight win away from home. Philadelphia halted a 13-game road losing streak in Los Angeles against the Lakers over the weekend.

J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who dropped their eighth game in a row. It's the team's longest skid since losing the final eight games of the 2002-03 season.

Denver also has lost some of its Mile High mystique under first-year coach Brian Shaw, losing a fifth straight at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets were a franchise-best 38-3 at home last season.

Stretching their lead to as many as 16 early in the fourth quarter, the Sixers cruised from there while improving to 3-13 on the road, which remains one of the worst marks in the league.

There was a brief moment when the game could have changed course, when Young was called for a clear path violation after a steal by Ty Lawson with 4:51 remaining. The speedy Nuggets point guard made 1 of 2 free throws to make it a 10-point game and they also had the ball out of bounds. But Wilson Chandler's 3-point attempt clanged off the rim.

Michael Carter-Williams had 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Philadelphia. He entered the game averaging 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists. The only rookie to average at least that many was Magic Johnson in 1979-80.

Falling behind by as many as nine to open the game, the 76ers picked up their tempo in the second quarter to take a 68-56 lead at halftime. Before the game, Sixers coach Brett Brown said he planned to push the pace even in the thin air. His team did, too, frequently beating the Nuggets down the floor.

The Nuggets trudged off the court at intermission to a smattering of boos from a crowd that's not accustomed to losing at home.

Randy Foye was back in the starting lineup after surrendering his spot to Jordan Hamilton the last three games. Foye has been struggling with his shot, his defense and not ''making plays for his teammates,'' Shaw explained before the game. Foye wound up with 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting.

Shaw's reserves have struggled lately, too, which was why he shook up his rotation against the Sixers. Quincy Miller was the first player off the bench, not Hamilton. Evan Fournier and Nate Robinson also received playing time ahead of Andre Miller, who didn't get into the game.

The Nuggets' reserves entered the game third in points per game (41.9) and first in rebounding (19.4).

NOTES: The 68 first-half points were a season high for Philadelphia. ... Young had his streak of scoring 25 or more halted at four games. ... Sixers C Spencer Hawes (first quarter) and Nuggets F Kenneth Faried (third quarter) received technical fouls. ... Lawson had 11 assists.

STAR OF THE GAME

Evan Turner

Points 23 8-17 FG, 1-3 3FG, 6-8 FT
Rebounds 5, 0 OFF 5 DEF
Assists 6
Steals 2
Blocks 1

GAME LEADERS

Points Evan Turner 23
Rebounds J.J. Hickson 11
Assists Ty Lawson 11
Steals Wilson Chandler 3
Blocks J.J. Hickson 2

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets forward/center on team's eight-game losing streak

“It’s tough. I’m not going to sit here and lie. It’s definitely tough. The good thing about this league is we play 82 games and we have nowhere to go but up from here. I feel like we have reached rock bottom."

KEY MOMENT

Sixers close second and third quarters strong

The Nuggets were within a point with 3:40 remaining before halftime, but the Sixers went on a 13-2 run to close the second quarter. After Denver crept back within seven, Philadelphia closed the third on a 9-2 run.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On the Nuggets play tonight:

“[It was a] terrible performance by our team from basically the second quarter on. They scored 68 points in the first half and 44 points in that second quarter. As evidenced by the fans and how they greeted us at halftime with the booing, we deserved every bit of that. When you’re in the midst of a seven-game losing streak and you allow a team to come in on your home floor and play harder than you do, it is unacceptable. I have to do a better job as a coach trying to figure out how to get our team to come out from the jump and play hard and try to play with the kind of energy and intensity we need to get us out of this.

On what went wrong during the second quarter:
“We played pretty decent in the first quarter. I stayed with the starting unit longer than I normally do and I started to make some substitutions and we just allowed their post-up players to catch the ball where they wanted in the post. Thaddeus Young started scoring in the post. We closed out, we helped out on drives where we had players under control, they kicked it out to [Spencer] Hawes and a couple of guys. In the first half, they had seven different guys that made 3-point shots. Stuff that we don’t practice and stuff that we don’t work on is unexplainable why we do it in a game. It goes from one guy saying “my bad” on this play then you have five or six different guys on separate plays saying “my bad”, it adds up after a while but that’s on me. I went in a different direction, I tried to search out. Evan [Fournier] got in there, [Quincy Miller] got in there in the first half. I was just trying to search out different combinations with different guys to see if they could get it going and mainly what I was looking for was guys who could guard the man in front of them. We didn’t get the loose, 50-50 balls and then we got tight on the offensive end, and we couldn’t hit shots. Like I said, that’s on me. I just have to keep on seeking and searching, try to find ways to motivate our players to play harder. It’s hard to coach effort.”

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson

On why the Nuggets’ effort was lacking tonight:
“I think they just played harder than us—they played harder than us the whole game. After the first quarter they played harder than us, getting rebounds—offensive rebounds, just playing tougher. I have no idea why—like they say, you can’t teach effort. You can’t teach that. When somebody is playing harder than you, you’re supposed to step it up, but we didn’t.”

On not having experience dealing with an extended losing streak before:
“It’s tough. I’ve never lost like this ever in my life—even from pee wee basketball, so it’s tough. It's hard to get out of the rut; I don’t know how to get out of it right now.”

On if he has tried to do anything different as a leader on the team to make a change:
“Trying to. I get in here, try to shoot more, put a little more effort in, a little more work and hopefully everybody follows. We’re not hitting shots, we’re not playing defense, we’re not doing anything right right now.”

On if the team can turn things around quickly tonight:
“I think so, this is one game that we should have won to turn everything around. I feel like winning turns everything around. I feel like this is one of the games, but we have two or three more that we need to win, that are right there for us to win. We need to take advantage of these opportunities.”

Nuggets forward/center J.J. Hickson

On how losing streak is weighing on team:
“It’s tough. I’m not going to sit here and lie. It’s definitely tough. The good thing about this league is we play 82 games and we have nowhere to go but up from here. I feel like we have reached rock bottom. The same way we lost seven in a row, we can run off seven or eight in a row. It’s just a matter of us getting together and taking pride with the Denver Nuggets organization and taking pride in our defense on the court and I think we’ll be good.”

On losing to Philadelphia:
“We’ve lost to some pretty bad teams, not just Philly. We lost to teams we know we could beat and we beat teams that people thought we were going to lose against. It’s like juggling, almost. We have to win the games we’re supposed to win and we’ll be fine.”

On team’s overall effort:
“You watch the game. We’re not getting all the 50-50 balls. We’re not diving on the floor for loose balls. We’ve hit rock bottom and we have nowhere to go but up from here. Once we realize that, we’ll be better off. We just have to play harder.”

On what do you say to rally teammates:
“You can only talk so much. You have to go out and put forth the effort and just play harder than other teams. We can’t let the offense dictate our defense, whether we’re scoring the ball or not. If we’re scoring, we’re not playing defense and if we’re not scoring, we’re still not playing defense. We have to do a better job of having that mindset that if we get stops, we can play with any team in this league.”

Sixers coach Brett Brown

On scoring 44 points in the second quarter:

“I thought our bench came in and did a great job. I thought the work that we have been trying to do on defense slowly took its toll and enabled us to get out and run and gave us a little bit of an edge. I feel like the second period got us rolling through our defense and the second group.”

On if the officiating disrupted the game flow:
“As it was happening, I was almost viewing it as timeouts. Maybe that was a good thing at the start, to have so many pauses. We had a lot of opportunity to give our guys some rest early; I was concerned about that second wind, everybody responds differently. Then it got to be a bit erratic, stopping and starting, but I was proud of our guys for closing it out.”

On getting back-to-back wins for the first time since starting the season 3-0:
“You hope things slowly come together. You hope you just stay the course and you don’t blink. We haven’t done anything different. We just try and stay on basic points and stay with our guys and continue to develop them. We are with them, we coach them. They hear the truth and we try and map out something that is solid for them. I am happy for them. The defensive side of things is where I am most pleased.”

Sixers forward Evan Turner

On the possibility of being an all-star:

“I’m not really aiming for it. I just think it’s a mental approach to it and taking the right steps to acclimate myself as a premier player in the league. I want to keep getting better, keep gaining rhythm and confidence. That’s the biggest thing whether I get the call in February or not. I just think it’s about getting acclimating and asserting myself.”

On aggressive play:
“I was just trying to stay aggressive. Coach told me don’t play conservative just keep playing aggressive. I took the plays when I thought I had it. I also thought I was going to get and-one’s off of those too.”

On what changed in the second quarter:
“I think we played pretty good defense in the first quarter. Obviously it’s little things that we had to adjust to. In the second quarter I think we cleared it all off and played some great basketball. Defensively and offensively we stuck together and we rolled the wave and took it into the second half.”

On two-game winning streak:
“Basketball is a game of runs and you really want to hop on the wagon and just keep going. Right now we’re just trying to put together as many wins as we can and keep building and keep having carry over each day and reaping the benefits of our hard work.”

Sixers forward Thaddeus Young

On performance of second unit:

“I think our second unit did a really good job of taking advantage of their opportunity to play and going out there and picking up the defensive intensity. They worked their second unit real good. That was my overall aspect of the game. The second unit just kind of pulled it out for us.”

On Lavoy Allen:
“He played a very good game, a solid overall game. He rebounded the basketball. He made a few jumpers. He got inside and mixed it up a little bit. If we can get them from him each and every night I think that definitely will help this team out. Overall the whole second unit came in and did their part. They played their roles to a “T” and got us to win.”

On second quarter performance:
“I think we were just in a good rhythm, a good flow. We were moving the basketball and getting each other shots and just playing aggressive. Also just being aggressive on the defensive end, letting them feel our presence and making sure we got the rebound. We were able to get out on the break and execute in the half-court when they did stop us.”

On two-game winning streak:
“We are beginning to show some signs of what coach is trying to instill in us. He’s been doing a great job all season long of just trying to get us to move the basketball around, get us to play with each other and just play through the key guys on the team. I think the roles are defined and everybody knows exactly what they need to do to go out there and help this team win games.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• J.J. Hickson led all Nuggets with 19 points and 11 rebounds. It was his sixth double-double in his last nine games and his 11th of the year.

• Ty Lawson posted 15 points and 11 assists. It was his seventh double-double of the year and 31st of his career (Denver is 22-9 in those games).

• Additionally, it was just the sixth game of Lawson’s career with 15+ points, 10+ assists and 5+ rebounds.

• Wilson Chandler posted 16 points and seven rebounds before fouling out tonight. Chandler is averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.25 steals over his last four games.

• Andre Miller missed just the seventh game of his 15-year career tonight. It was his first ever DNP-Coach’s Decision and ended a string of 239 straight games.

• Evan Turner recorded 23 points, five rebounds and six assists for Philadelphia tonight. It was the eighth time this season that Turner has posted 20+ points, 5+ rebounds and 5+ assists in the same game.

TEAM

• Denver has now lost eight straight games overall and five straight at Pepsi Center. It is their first eight-game losing streak since they lost the final eight games of the 2002-03 season. It is their first five-game home losing streak since they lost five straight from 1/29/12 to 2/9/12.

• This marked just the second game Denver has lost while scoring 100+ points at home in the last 50 times that has happened.

• The 44 points scored by Philadelphia in the second quarter is the most scored by Philadelphia in any quarter since 2/20/96 at Orlando (44). It is also the most allowed by Denver since Golden State scored 44 in the third quarter at Denver on 4/11/11.

• The 26 points by Denver’s reserves marked a season low in that category, and the eight points by Darrell Arthur was the lowest point total for a Nugget’s leading bench scorer all season.

• Philadelphia scored 25 second-chance points, tying for the most allowed by Denver all season. Denver is now 2-6 when allowing 20 or more second-chance points.

• Denver produced just five fast break points, tying for the second fewest all year.

• Tonight was the first time since Nov. 11 that a Philadelphia opponent has failed to score 20+ points in a game (22 straight games prior to tonight).

• Tonight was just the second time this season that Philadelphia has won by 10-or-more points this season.

• The Nuggets shot under 40% from the field for the fifth time this season (0-5) and the third time in their last six games.