Nuggets veteran Harrington produces through pain in Game 7
LOS ANGELES – Even with a broken nose and a bum knee, Nuggets forward Al Harrington wasn’t going down without a fight.
After scoring 23 points in the previous four playoff games combined, Harrington rose up for 24 points in Denver’s 96-87 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of their Western Conference playoff series on Saturday night.
“I knew this was a big moment,” he said. “I just felt I had to be very aggressive. I wasn’t going to go out like that. I just had to put all my injuries aside and lay it all on the line for the team.”
Harrington scored 10 points during a 27-7 run that helped the Nuggets erase a 16-point deficit over an 8:01 span bridging the third and fourth quarters.
“We needed somebody to step up and make some shots,” Denver point guard Ty Lawson said. “Al was huge.”
On a team with 12 players 26 or younger, the 32-year-old Harrington is one of Denver’s senior leaders.
Throughout the playoffs, Nuggets coach George Karl has pointed out that Harrington and fellow veteran Andre Miller probably have a better appreciation of the playoff experience than some of the young guys.
Harrington, who just completed his 14th NBA season, agreed with that assessment.
“When you’ve been around so long and don’t get that ultimate goal of winning a championship, it’s tough,” he said. “You try to cherish the moment, try to let these young guys know how important it is and let them know it’s not guaranteed every year. When you get here, just give it everything you’ve got.”
NOTES: The Nuggets fell to 1-2 in Game 7s, with their lone victory coming against the Milwaukee Bucks in 1978 … After taking care of the ball and averaging just 9.8 turnovers in the first six games of the series, Denver committed 19 turnovers, leading to 27 points for Los Angeles in Game 7. On the flip side, the Nuggets scored just eight points on 11 L.A. turnover … With the outcome decided, Lakers center Andrew Bynum fouled Denver big man JaVale McGee hard with 4.9 seconds remaining. McGee said he dislocated his shoulder before it popped back into place.