Foye stays hot as Nuggets cruise past Thunder

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Jan. 10, 2014 01:06

The Denver Nuggets had a perfect strategy for containing Kevin Durant.

Build a 23-point lead after three quarters and relegate him to the bench for the fourth.

Durant scored 30 points, but the Nuggets countered with a balanced attack led by Randy Foye and Ty Lawson as Denver beat the Oklahoma City Thunder for its fourth straight victory Thursday night at Pepsi Center.

Foye hit six 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 24 points, while Lawson chased a triple-double with 16 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds for the Nuggets (18-17), who led by as many as 25 early in the fourth quarter.

With the game out of hand, Thunder coach Scott Brooks emptied his bench and Durant never returned after leaving with 2:56 left in the third quarter.

“I pretty much knew that once (Brooks) took him out, it was going to be more of the bench trying to get them back in it,” Foye said. “I was just saying to myself, ‘Don’t let (Durant) get back in’ because you know how dangerous he is.”

While Durant was a one-man show, accounting for nearly half of Oklahoma City’s scoring, the Nuggets had contributions up and down the stat sheet.

Evan Fournier scored a season-high 19 points and made a career-best four 3-pointers; Quincy Miller matched his career-high with nine points in his first career start; and Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson combined for 26 rebounds.

The Nuggets also reached rarified air from 3-point range, finishing 14-for-31 from beyond the arc. They have made at least 12 3s in three straight games for just the second time in team history.

“You can put it on them getting hot; you can put it on us not making the right rotations but they were 14-of-31,” Durant said. “Any team that goes 14-for-31 from the 3 is hard to beat.”

The Nuggets raced out to a nine-point lead at the half and then used a 9-0 run to push the advantage to 20 late in the third quarter. Denver scored only 12 points in the fourth, but Oklahoma City never threatened.

The Thunder shot .353 from the field (30-of-85), marking a season-low for a Nuggets opponent.

“Overall, from beginning to end, it was a great effort by our team on the offensive end as well as the defensive end,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “We’re in a good place right now; we just want to keep riding this momentum we have.”

No one has more momentum than Foye, who is 17-for-29 from 3-point range over his past four games. A handful of his 3-pointers against the Thunder were several feet behind the line. At this point, he looks to be a threat when he crosses half court.

“It definitely feels that way,” he said. “I take those shots every day. I think it’s from my preparation, just understanding that every single day it doesn’t matter if I make six or seven 3s, that I have to come in tomorrow and be ready to work. If you work and do the right things, when you get in the game nothing is foreign to you.”

After climbing back above .500, the Nuggets will conclude their three-game homestand Saturday night against the Orlando Magic.

STAR OF THE GAME

Ty Lawson

Points 6-15 FG, 2-4 3FG, 2-2 FT
Rebounds 7, 1 OFF 6 DEF
Assists 14
Steals 3
Blocks 0

GAME LEADERS

Points Kevin Durant 30
Rebounds Kenneth Faried 14
Assists Ty Lawson 14
Steals Ty Lawson 3
Blocks Serge Ibaka, Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb 3

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw on Quincy Miller making first career start

“Jokingly, I told him that with Quincy Miller starting at small forward, we're 1-0 in that era."

KEY MOMENT

Three-point barrage gives Nuggets separation

After the Thunder closed within 11 with 5:08 left in the third quarter, Randy Foye hit two 3-pointers and Evan Fournier added another as part of a 9-0 run that pushed Denver's lead back to 20.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On beating the Oklahoma City Thunder:

“Overall, from beginning to end, great effort by our team on the offensive end as well as the defensive end. Just with our activity and our sense of urgency to push the ball when we had opportunities to win the ball before the defense got set up. We talked about the fact that they are a very good defensive team and if you allow them to sit down on you and get set so we tried to minimize the times that they could do that against us defensively. We rebounded the ball well and our defense was good, we held them to 35 percent shooting from the field. We talked about Kevin Durant getting his; he had 24 at halftime but we didn’t want anybody else to get into a rhythm. We did a pretty good job of that for the most part and just good contributions once again from everybody, from our bench, from our starters. JJ [Hickson] didn’t have it going offensively but he rebounded well for us. Randy [Foye] is in a nice groove; he has a rhythm going. Ty [Lawson] is directing everything out there on the floor in a nice way so we’re in a good place right now, we just want to keep riding this momentum we have right now.”

On hitting 14 3-pointers vs Thunder:
“It’s just a rhythm. When we had the eight game losing streak we couldn’t find a rhythm and the ball wasn’t going in for us. Everything is in balance right now from how each of the players feel about themselves and what they’re doing out there on the floor to what we’re doing out there on the floor in terms of Ty [Lawson] coming off attacking off pick and rolls, our bigs rolling hard; they have to address their roles. When they take that away, we’ve been knocking down the shots. When they don’t take it away, [we have been] giving rolls for dunks and things of that nature so we’re in a harmonious place right now.”

Nuggets guard Randy Foye

On if he feels like he’s in range as soon as he crosses half court right now:
“Yeah, it definitely feels that way. I take those shots every day, I think it’s from my preparation—just understanding that every single day it doesn’t matter if I make six or seven 3s, that I have to come in tomorrow and be ready to work, and put yourself in situations where if you work and do the right things that when you get in the game, nothing is foreign to you.”

On how big the win was tonight:
“I don’t know if they’re number one or number two, but to beat a team like that without Wilson [Chandler] and having some young guys in there and not being very deep on the bench—that was huge.”

On what has made the difference the last four games for him personally:
“Coach just sat me down and said you have been in this league for eight years and this is what you’ve done. You’ve done this over and over and over—last year you made 178 3s or whatever it was, but this is what you have done and I need you to go out there and shoot more. I need you to be aggressive. He sat me down and said he needed me to help lead the group—be a vocal leader out there, when guys are messing up get on them and when guys are doing well also let them know. At the end of the day, just shoot the ball and let it go.”

Nuggets guard Evan Fournier

On if one player starts hitting 3s if it impacts other people:
“It gives you confidence, so yeah, of course. The crowd was great tonight. I think it was great because I had a lot of wide-open shots so that makes it a lot easier.”

On how he feels about being on the court more the last few games:
“I feel great—it feels great to be on the court, I’m not going to lie. Especially getting these four wins, I’m just happy to be out there.”

On how the atmosphere is in the locker room these days:
“It might be the best atmosphere of the year. The whole team is on the same page and we all want to get better and move forward and get a good spot in the playoffs.”

Thunder coach Scott Brooks

On loss to Nuggets:
“I thought we did a good job of controlling the pace for the most part, but tonight we didn’t get good looks offensively and didn’t move the ball well enough. We took a lot of tough shots, are timing wasn’t where it needs to be and we missed a lot of threes. The good thing is everything is correctable and we can go back and get better from our mistakes.”

On the defensive effort:
“We held the Nuggets to 41 percent shooting from the field; it’s usually a number that puts us in the position to win the game. We just couldn’t generate enough points for us to win. We took to many tough shots and missed a lot of shots, it resulted in a bad offensive night.”

On the bench struggling:
“I told the guys that we are a good team and have good players. The reason why we are such a good team is because of the bench, they have been good all year but they have just had a few tough games. I believe in them and so do the rest of the guys, that’s what makes us a good team. They do a good job on carrying the team when we need it. Tonight they didn’t have it but they will bounce back and I have complete trust of our bench players.”

Thunder forward Perry Jones:

On what caused the loss:

“I don’t think we moved the ball as well as we normally do. We shot a lot of quick shots. That’s exactly what they wanted us to do. They wanted us to take quick shots. We kind of played their game and we should’ve played our game.”

On what the Nuggets did in the third quarter:
“They made a lot of good shots. They made a lot of tough shots. That’s the best way I can put it. They just made a lot of shots and we didn’t.”

On rebounding from the loss for the game Saturday:
“That’s part of being a pro. You have to turn around real quick because you have a game the next day or the day after that. We just have to go back to what we do best- work the ball around, play team basketball and play team defense. Hopefully we’ll get the win the next game.”

Thunder forward Kevin Durant

On what caused the loss:

“I’m not doing enough to help them. I’m shooting too much. I’m shooting too many threes and I’m not helping them out at all. It’s not on them. We’ve played without Russell [Westbrook] and we played great. We moved the ball and when it gets to me the ball is just sticking. I’m not helping them out at all. I have to create. I have to create for Serge, I have to create for Jeremy, I have to create for Perry and get those guys going. I just can’t keep thinking about myself.”

On being aggressive:
“I have to channel it the right way. I can’t be aggressive just to score … I like to put that on my shoulders. As a leader you have to take that in. I just have to be better as far as getting everybody involved. Today we were just sitting there watching me. I take full responsibility for it. As a leader you have to take the good and the bad. It is what it is.”

On Nuggets 3-point shooting:
“They made 14 out of 31 threes tonight. That did it. You can put it on them getting hot. You can put it on us not making the right rotations but they were 14 for 31. Any team that goes 14 for 31 from the 3 is hard to beat. We just have to be better, like I said.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Ty Lawson posted 16 points, seven rebounds, 14 assists and three steals tonight. It was his fifth straight double-double, 11th of the year and 35th of his career (Denver is 26-9 in those games). His streak of five straight double-doubles is the longest of his career.

• Tonight was the second time in Lawson’s career he has registered 16+ points, 7+ rebounds and 14+ assists in a single game. It was the first time in his career he has reached those numbers while also collecting three steals.

• Randy Foye tallied a season-high 24 points (6-9 3FG) to go with four rebounds. It is the second straight game he has made 6+ threes, the first time doing so in back-to-back games in his career.

• Foye is averaging 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his last four games while shooting 17-of-29 (.586) from deep in his last four games.

• Evan Fournier scored a season-high 19 points and connected on a career-high four threes off the bench. Fournier has scored in double-figures in three of his last four games, averaging 12.3 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting .514 (18-35 FG) from the field and .529 (9-17 3FG) from long range during this stretch.

• Kenneth Faried recorded nine points and 14 rebounds. It was his third straight game with 13+ rebounds.

• Quincy Miller scored a career-high tying nine points in a career-high 20 minutes in his first career start.

• Kevin Durant scored 30 points (15-16 FT) tonight, his 19th game of the year with 30+ points (including in three of last four games). Durant attempted 16 free throws,, while the Nuggets attempted 18 as a team.

TEAM

• The Nuggets earned their third-straight home win and fourth straight win overall. Denver has now won 10 of their last 13 home games over the Thunder.

• Denver has now gone 50-2 in the last 52 home games in which they have scored 100-or-more points.

• Tonight was the 10th time this season Denver has held their opponent to under 90 points (8-2 in those games).

• Denver has won three straight games by at least 13 points and have led by at least 25 in all three contests.

• The Nuggets connected on 14-of-31 (.452) threes tonight. Their 14 threes ties a season-high and it is just the second time in team history making 12+ threes in three straight games (also did so in three straight in Nov. 2007).

• Denver is shooting a combined 40-of-91 (.440) from beyond the arc over their last three games.

• Oklahoma City shot 30-of-85 (.353) from the field. Denver is now 11-2 on the year when holding their opponent to under 40% shooting from the field.