March 29, 2013
|Box Score||Brooklyn Nets||23||15||28||21||87|
|Play by Play||Denver Nuggets||26||29||25||29||109|
Career night by rookie Evan Fournier sparks Nuggets
By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com
Posted March 29 2013 23:57At about 2 p.m. Friday, Nuggets rookie Evan Fournier sent a text message to his parents in Paris.
Knowing he had a good chance to get some playing time, Fournier encouraged them to watch Denver’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Tipoff on NBA League Pass occurred shortly after 3 a.m. in France.
Fournier didn’t disappoint.
With starting point guard Ty Lawson sidelined again by a heel injury, Fournier scored a career-high 19 points off the bench to help Denver cruise to a 109-87 victory over Brooklyn at Pepsi Center.
“I’m really happy for him,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “It was a great wild card to get. The kid has a lot of confidence. He took advantage of his opportunities and I feel great for him.”
Kosta Koufos added 13 points and nine rebounds as Denver (50-24) extended its home winning streak to 18 games. The Nuggets also reached 50 wins for the fifth straight full season (they won 38 games during the shortened 2011-12 season).
“When I grew up in coaching, 50 wins was a great year,” Karl said. “Fifty wins meant you were doing your job and doing it at a high level. In my heart, I still think that is truthful. I told my staff after the game that they have done a tremendous job, and it is fun being a part of a staff and team with high energy and high commitment.”
From the coaching staff to the rotation players to the seldom-used reserves, the Nuggets have been a unified group throughout the season.
Fournier, drafted 20th overall last June, became the latest breakout contributor as Karl looked for someone to provide solid minutes in Lawson’s absence.
Lawson, who leads Denver in scoring and assists, sat out for the fourth time in the past five games and is day-to-day with a plantar fascia tear in his right heel.
In an effort to be ready for extended playing time backing up starter Andre Miller, Fournier cut his pregame workout with assistant coach John Welch from the normal 75 minutes to just 20 minutes.
The change paid dividends as Fournier scored seven points in his first 4 minutes against the Nets. His play sparked a 19-4 run to open the second quarter, and the Nets never got the deficit under 10 points the rest of the game.
“Honestly, the last couple games when George called on me, I only played something like 5 or 6 minutes because I didn’t show anything,” Fournier said. “I was like, ‘Just be ready. If they call your name, take every second like the last one.’ I just had to be aggressive.”
After hitting a 3-pointer for his first field goal, Fournier attacked the basket throughout the game. He did a nice job finishing around the rim and converted all six of his free throws attempts.
“I’m an aggressive player,” he said. “I can do a lot of things, but what I do best is be aggressive and score. That’s what I tried to do.”
In the hours leading up to tipoff, Karl wasn’t sure how much he would employ the 20-year-old. Not only did Fournier take a step toward earning his coach’s trust, he earned some respect from the Nets.
“He had a heck of a game,” Brooklyn point guard Deron Williams said. “This is the NBA. No matter who checks in, you’ve got to be ready to play them and he played a great game.”
Fournier was one of several contributors for the Nuggets, who moved a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
Six players scored in double-figures Denver, while Andre Iguodala added a game-high eight assists.
The Nuggets now get four days off to rest and prepare for three games in four nights, starting Wednesday at Utah.
Nuggets coach George KarlOn if Evan Fournier earned his trust:
“I hope so. I’m really happy for him. I would say he and [Timofey Mosgov] have stayed focused on getting better with very little reward, and it was a great wild card to get. The kid has a lot of confidence. He took advantage of his opportunities, and I feel great for him. He will probably be mad that I’m surprised he played well, that’s how confident he is. He thinks he is going to be able to contribute on an NBA court.”
On Ty Lawson and a playoff seed:
“Our job is to get as high of a seed as possible, and whatever the injury situation, I think most people are fairly optimistic [Ty Lawson] will be fine. I don’t think we should have anything in our head, except to try and win every game, and maybe the last game of the season think about resting the team if everything is solidified. Right now I want to win them all, and continue to keep the edge. Without Ty we need to experiment a little bit and do it like we did tonight.”
On winning 50 games:
“When I grew up in coaching, 50 wins was a great year. I don’t care who you were - the Celtics, the Lakers - 50 wins meant you were doing your job and doing it at a high level. It’s in my heart that I still think that is truthful. I told my staff after the game that they have done a tremendous job, and it is fun being a part of a staff and team with high energy and high commitment. Being the leader of that makes you look good.”
Nuggets guard Evan Fournier
On tonight’s goals:
“Be aggressive. That’s who I am. I am an aggressive player and I just pass the ball. When I just pass the ball, I’m not the same player. I just try to be aggressive and play hard.”
On his scoring in the fourth quarter and what was behind that:
“Honestly, I don’t know. It’s a hard question. I think I had more opportunities.”
On the power of the bench tonight:
“We play hard. [Andre Miller] comes in and we have [Corey] Brewer, it is one of our best traits. Our bench is very deep. Hopefully we don’t get tired and we can get a win with Utah.”
Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari
On winning ugly for 15th-straight win:
“Yeah it was a win. We had guys out like Ty [Lawson] and Wilson [Chandler] who helped us put together this streak. Guys stepped up, and I have to commend guys like Julyan Stone and Anthony Randolph for playing great games tonight.”
On players stepping up when key players are out:
“It is really difficult. I’m not used to certain things until certain times in a quarter. In the fourth quarter I was used to when Andre [Miller] is in and what we normally do, but I’m used to Ty [Lawson] in the first quarter setting everybody up and then starting to be aggressive.”
On what had to be done late in game to win:
“We had to stop them from shooting, stop them from hitting big threes that they are known for, and play great Nuggets defense, and I think we did that. We did have one slip up and I will take the blame for that, which was letting Salmons take that three. The next time down I didn’t let Marcus Thornton get that three off.”
Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo
On evaluating team’s job on the game tonight:
“We didn’t play as well as we have been playing but Denver had a lot to do with that.”
On taking lessons from tonight’s game into tomorrow night’s game:
“If you are going to play a team this good in their building, we need to do a better job than we did tonight. I thought twice we worked our way back into it but for most of the first quarter, we had a tough start and then we got ourselves back in – I think maybe we had a lead with a couple minutes to go – and we weren’t turning the ball over and then we had a couple turnovers late in the first quarter but still the lead wasn’t that big. But then, in the second quarter, their bench really gave them a great lift and the bench came in and played extremely well. [Evan] Fournier had a great game and they took us out of all of our offense with overplay and they started creating turnovers.
On what the Nets’ did well in tonight’s game:
In the first quarter when we were able to score then get back to make them run half-court offense, we were okay but then we were doing a good job on the boards and Reggie [Evans] got off to a great start again. We got offensive rebounds the whole game but we weren’t able to attack; we weren’t able to beat them on the dribble. They were overplaying and switching us. One of the things that was available to us was to beat them on the dribble but they were doubling [Deron Williams] and it was hard to get by and beat them on the dribble and try and create something but at times we did that during the game. Gerald [Wallace] did a great job. [Andray Blatche] came off the bench and gave us a good lift. We didn’t match their physicality on the defensive end but we were rebounding and it wasn’t for lack of effort on the boards; their free throws just killed us. We wouldn’t have led but we would have been in a position with a couple of stops and we would have been back in the game.”
Nets center/forward Andray Blatche
On the loss:
“We came out and we fought. Their team is great at home; I believe they’ve lost three games here. We knew what we were facing so we came out and tried to compete and get a win. They play well; they played great.”
On what the team can take from the game:
“We put it in the box and throw it in the ocean and just keep going towards the game tomorrow. You can’t even think about, if you keep on thinking about it, it’s going to affect tomorrow’s game.”
On the road trip:
“They hit some tough shots; some balls weren’t falling for us. It wasn’t like we played bad, we did terrible getting back in transition defense. We gave ourselves a chance in the third and fourth quarter to come back, but we couldn’t get over the hump.” On the altitude in Denver:
“I felt like my lungs were going to explode. [The Nuggets] definitely have an advantage because of that. I came out in the first two or three minutes and I felt like [heavy breathing]. I felt like I ran about 10 miles; it was tough.”
Nets point guard Deron Williams
On playing Denver:
“They put a beating on us. We were close at the end of the first, after that it wasn’t really close at all. We got down 20 against a team like this and the way they were playing, it was hard to come back. You’re fighting an uphill battle all game and nothing really went right for us. They took us out of our game. We couldn’t get comfortable, we couldn’t get anything going and I don’t know how many assists we had as a team, but it wasn’t many. We had turnovers that cost us, missed free-throws cost us. Just things we’ve been doing that we didn’t do tonight.”
On Evan Fournier:
“He had a heck of a game. There’s no doubt about it, this is the NBA, no matter who checks in you’ve got to be ready to play them and he played a great game.”
• Evan Fournier led the Nuggets in scoring by registering a career-high 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting (previous career high – 10 points, 11/17/12 @ SAS). He also set a new career high in every major category. Fournier had 17 total points in February and March combined before tonight.
• Wilson Chandler registered 16 points, four blocks and two steals in tonight’s victory. In his last 17 games, he is averaging 15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.29 steals. Additionally, he is shooting .510 from the field and .439 from beyond the arc in those games.
• Andre Iguodala dished out a team-high eight assists tonight. It is the third time in the last four games that he has had seven-or-more dimes (averaging 6.8 apg in those four games).
• Kosta Koufos scored 13 points and came down with nine rebounds. Koufos has only reached those numbers in the same game seven times in his career (all this season; fourth occurrence in March). It is also the 11th time this season he has grabbed nine-or-more boards in a game at the Pepsi Center this season (Nuggets 11-0).
• Danilo Gallinari scored 11 points, grabbed five boards and handed out six assists. It is only the sixth time in his career he has reached those numbers in the same game (fourth this season; Nuggets 4-0).
• Reggie Evans scored 15 points and recorded a game-high 16 rebounds tonight. In his last seven games, the big man is averaging 10.3 points and 17.6 rebounds. In his last two games, the big man is averaging 18.5 points and 21.0 rebounds.
• The Nuggets beat Brooklyn 109-87, winning their 18th straight home game (longest single-season home streak since winning 19 straight from 1/28/89 to 4/20/89) and moving to 33-3 at home this year (best home record in team history was 36-5 in 1976-77).
• Denver earned their 50th win of the season, the fifth straight full season that Denver has registered 50-or-more wins (won 38 games in shortened 2011-12 season).
• Tonight was the Nuggets sixth straight home win over the Nets and they have won eight of the last 12 overall.
• The Nuggets are now 30-3 when allowing fewer than 100 points and 12-2 when allowing 90-or-fewer.
• Denver shot at least 50% from the field in all four quarters and it was their 46th consecutive win (65 of their last 66) when shooting over 50% from the field at home.
• The Nuggets bench combined for 60 points, the fifth time this season the reserves have scored 60-or-more (4-1 in those games).
• Denver was outrebounded 49-33 tonight, the most they’ve been outrebounded by this season (previous was 14 at DET on 12/11). It was the sixth time Denver has been outrebounded by 10+, and they are 2-4 in those games.
• Additionally, their 33 rebounds was one higher than their season-low. They’re registered 32 on two occasions this season.
• The Nuggets registered 62 points in the paint, their 32nd game of the season with 60+ points in the paint (seventh time in last nine games).
• Denver has now won 37 of their last 38 home games when scoring 100+ points.
• The Nuggets registered 12 steals, their 14th game in their last 19 with 10+ steals. They are now 30-6 when collecting 10-or-more steals.
• Denver outscored the Nets 26-2 on the break tonight. The Nuggets are now 14-1 when scoring 25-plus fast break points.
• The Nets registered 24 offensive rebounds, just the sixth time this season a team has collected 24-plus offensive rebounds. It’s the first time a Nuggets opponent has done so since 12/6/08 vs. SAC (26 offensive).