During a two-day Christmas break, Randy Foye wasn’t about to sit idle and hope that his shooting slump simply disappeared like discarded wrapping paper.
The Denver Nuggets weren’t practicing, but the veteran guard made sure to get his shots up in an empty gym at Pepsi Center. Working with an automatic machine, Foye made his way around the perimeter, shooting for about 90 minutes on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas.
“Work hard. That’s how I get through anything in life,” Foye said. “Just stay true to your craft by working hard every day and you’ll get through it.
“Even when I was missing shots, I just constantly said, ‘This is not me.’ The only way you get through something like that is if you put the effort forward. That’s what I continued to do.”
It wasn’t long before Foye started to see the results. Coming off the bench on Dec. 28, he scored 11 points against the Memphis Grizzlies and added 11 more against the Miami Heat on Dec. 30.
The production convinced coach Brian Shaw to put him back in the starting lineup, and Foye has continued to surge. He scored a season-high 23 points and went 7-for-12 from 3-point range Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics.
Over his past six games, Foye is averaging 14.3 points and spreading the floor by keeping defenders occupied on the perimeter.
“At the end of the Memphis game, I felt like that was where he got his swag back and got his confidence back,” Shaw said. “At practice the next day, he shot the ball well and made plays. That’s what we need from him. He’s in a nice groove right now. We just want to ride him as long as he’s hot like this.”
Foye is 11-for-20 from behind the arc during Denver’s three-game winning streak. He and the Nuggets will look to make it four in a row Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Nuggets are 0-2 against their Northwest Division rivals this season, but they have enjoyed a resurgence since Shaw established a set nine-man rotation less than a week ago.
The only Denver player hotter than Foye right now is point guard Ty Lawson, who is averaging 18 points and 12 assists while recording four consecutive double-doubles.
Foye’s ability to knock down shots has helped Lawson find more room to dissect the defense with his quickness. Lawson has been finishing at the rim, finding big men rolling to the basket and setting up Foye for open 3s on the wing.
“That’s what he’s been working on, just getting his shot right,” Lawson said. “He’s been showing improvements and it’s making everybody better. For us to win like we want to win, he needs to be knocking down shots.”
The Nuggets could be short-handed against the Thunder. Starting forward Wilson Chandler (strained left groin) and reserve guard Nate Robinson (sprained right ankle) sat out practice Wednesday. Both are listed as game-time decisions.
THUNDER AT NUGGETS
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver
TV; RADIO: TNT; AM-950
F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C J.J. Hickson
G Randy Foye
G Ty Lawson
OKLAHOMA CITY (27-8)
F Kevin Durant
F Serge Ibaka
C Kendrick Perkins
G Thabo Sefolosha
G Reggie Jackson
DENVER: Chandler (groin strain) and Nate Robinson (sprained ankle) are game-time decisions; Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (fractured left tibia) are out.
OKLAHOMA CITY: Ibaka (flulike symptoms) is day-to-day; Russell Westbrook (knee) is out.
Although the Nuggets have won nine of the last 12 home games against the Thunder/Sonics, the OKC franchise has actually played well in Denver over the last eight seasons, having gone 9-13 at Pepsi Center since 2002-03 . . . The Nuggets have claimed 18 of the last 29 games overall against the Thunder/Sonics, dating back to the 2006-07 season . . . Last season was the Thunder’s second multi-win season against the Nuggets since 2005-06 . . . The Nuggets claimed a 3-1 series win over the Thunder in 2009-10, marking their fourth-straight season series win against the OKC franchise until the last two seasons . . . Denver has recorded seven non-losing season series out of the last nine against the Thunder/Sonics (had been seven straight until 2010-11) . . . The biggest win in Nuggets regular0season history (52 points) came against the OKC franchise on 3/16/08 – a 168-116 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics at Pepsi Center . . . The 168 points scored by Denver also marked the most points the Nuggets have ever scored in a non-overtime game.