Brewer, McGee provide boost off bench for Nuggets
Athetic duo shine in Game 2 loss to Lakers
LOS ANGELES – Sifting through his versatile deck of reserves, Nuggets coach George Karl found a pair of momentum-turning wild cards Tuesday night.
Corey Brewer scored nine of his 13 points in the second half, while JaVale McGee protected the paint with a purpose in Denver’s 104-100 loss in Game 2 of its first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Playing nearly the entire fourth quarter, McGee grabbed six rebounds and blocked five shots in the game’s final 12 minutes to help the Nuggets rally late in the game.
“It felt good because my role here is to be a defensive presence,” he said. “I definitely felt like in the second half I took advantage of that. I was trying to prevent any shots that came to the rim.”
Brewer also sparkled on defense, recording three steals and forcing Lakers star Kobe Bryant into difficult shots. Bryant finished with 38 points but missed six of seven shots in the fourth quarter.
“He made some tough shots, but at the end he started missing,” Brewer said. :We got back in the game. You’ve got to live with it. He’s Kobe Bryant. He’s going to make shots.”
Their depth has been one of Denver’s biggest strengths all season, and it was no different in Game 2 as the Nuggets reserves outscored their L.A. counterparts 35-8. Al Harrington accounted for three of Denver’s four three-pointers, while Timofey Mozgov chipped in with six points in just 11 minutes.
BRIGHT LIGHTS: While it’s not known as the loudest building in the NBA, there’s a mystique to Staples Center that comes from its celebrity crowd and the Lakers’ championship track record.
“It’s a Broadway stage that has a history and an energy to it, but it’s not one of those can’t-hear (arenas),” Karl said. “This is more of a stage than an intense building like Oklahoma City.”
With talent-laden teams led by Bryant, the Lakers have made the most of their home court; they boast the league’s best home record since the start of the 2007-08 season, winning at nearly an 80 percent clip. The Nuggets, incidentally, have the second-best home mark in that span.