Nuggets-Nets Preview

The Brooklyn Nets used a team effort and some production from an
unexpected source to survive their first of at least two games
without Deron Williams.

They’ve had a difficult time with the Denver Nuggets in recent
years no matter who is in uniform.

Brooklyn looks to avoid a ninth loss in the last 11 meetings
Wednesday night when it hosts Denver, which hopes some key
contributors will return from injury.

Williams sat out Monday’s 89-84 overtime win at Indiana with
inflammation in his ankles, and he’ll also miss at least this
contest while using the upcoming All-Star break to recover.

If his teammates play like they did Monday, the Nets (30-22)
could be heading into the break on a positive note.

Brook Lopez scored 25 points, Reggie Evans grabbed 22 rebounds
and rookie Tyshawn Taylor scored a season-high 12 points off the
bench.

”It was great. It was a complete team game from top to
bottom,” Lopez said.

Joe Johnson added 17 points for Brooklyn, which had dropped
three of its previous four and is averaging only 86.1 points and
shooting 41.4 percent over its last seven.

”We wanted to come out tonight and make a statement,” Johnson
said. ”We were just being very resilient. Guys were coming up big
and making plays.”

Taylor, whose scoreline has often read “DNP-Coach’s Decision,”
made his case to get more playing time after playing the entire
fourth quarter and overtime coming off the bench behind C.J.
Watson. He played over 34 minutes after not playing more than 20 in
any previous game.

“I’m happy for him,” Johnson said. “A guy who comes in and works
hard and gets an opportunity to play, and not only play, but play
in a clutch and crucial situation, he was big for us tonight.”

Taylor, a second-round draft pick who was acquired from Portland
on draft night, also has spent time in the Developmental
League.

“I’m confident in my game, so when coach puts me out there I
just want to be aggressive,” Taylor said, “It started getting down
to crunch time and coach kept me in there, it just boosted my
confidence.”

The Nuggets will be looking to regain theirs after falling
109-108 at Toronto on Tuesday – their second straight loss after
nine consecutive wins. They played, though, without Danilo
Gallinari (sinus infection), Andre Iguodala (strained neck) and
reserve Wilson Chandler (groin).

JaVale McGee also didn’t play in the second half because of a
sore left leg.

It’s unclear if any of the four will be in uniform
Wednesday.

Ty Lawson scored a game-high 29 points while Corey Brewer and
rookie Evan Fournier combined for 15 replacing Gallinari and
Iguodala, who are averaging 17.2 and 13.4 points, respectively.

”That’s tough,” Lawson said. ”We didn’t know until (earlier
Tuesday) so we couldn’t really plan for it.”

Rudy Gay hit a jumper with less than five seconds remaining to
hand another tough loss to Denver, which fell 118-114 in triple
overtime Sunday.

”This one is even harder for me than Boston,” coach George
Karl said.

Denver, which will be concluding a four-game road trip, is
averaging 113.4 points over its last 12. The Nuggets have averaged
112.2 points while winning five of the last six meetings with the
Nets.