Nuggets beat 76ers 101-100 for 14th straight win
Down five points with less than 10 seconds left, Corey Brewer
figured this was the end of the Denver Nuggets’ longest streak
since joining the NBA in 1976.
”To be honest, I didn’t think we had any chance of winning,”
Brewer said after lifting Denver to a 101-100 win – its 14th
straight overall – over the stunned Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday
Brewer sank a 3-pointer with 9.2 seconds left, quickly fouled
Evan Turner – a 75 percent free-throw shooter who missed both of
his foul shots with 7.1 seconds remaining – and then sank three
free throws with 2.1 seconds left after drawing the whistle on
Fellow reserve Anthony Randolph, playing because Wilson Chandler
was out with a dislocated left shoulder, blocked Wilkins’
desperation jumper at the buzzer to secure Denver’s 14th straight
win overall and 16th straight at the Pepsi Center.
It’s not quite the 24-game run the Miami Heat are on, but it’s
still plenty impressive.
With Ty Lawson also out, Andre Miller took over at the point and
got winded pretty quickly. The Nuggets, overlooked in the great
surge by the Heat, played their ugliest game of their streak, which
started back on Feb. 23. They turned the ball over an
uncharacteristic 20 times and didn’t find a rhythm until the very
end as they narrowly avoided their first home loss since falling to
Washington on Jan. 14.
”It wasn’t fun,” Nuggets coach George Karl said, ”but it
ended up being fun.”
At 31-3, the Nuggets surpassed Miami (30-3) for the best home
record in the NBA, and this one was easily the most satisfying of
After drawing the foul with 2.1 seconds left, Brewer took a deep
breath and sank the first shot.
”I was just trying to be calm. I knew I needed to make two out
of three and once I made the first one, a little pressure’s off,”
said Brewer, who finished with a career-best 29 points.
He hit his second, then took a step back while JaVale McGee
returned to the game. Once McGee was in place for a possible
rebound, Brewer swished his third free throw.
”It’s tough. It’s just you, the basket and the crowd,”
teammate Danilo Gallinari said.
After a timeout, Randolph blocked Wilkins, who finished with 24
points, and win No. 14 was theirs.
”There’s no one to point the finger at,” Turner said. ”We
played hard the whole game, whatever could go wrong did go
Even though Miller scored a season-high 21 points, the Nuggets
sorely missed Lawson (right heel) and Chandler, both of whom were
hurt in Denver’s signature win at Oklahoma City Tuesday night.
Gallinari’s seventh turnover led to Wilkins’ jumper that made it
98-90 with two minutes remaining, and the crowd was standing in
disbelief that this streak was really going to come to an end
against the league’s lowest-scoring team, one which had won just
six times on the road, tied for the fewest in the NBA.
Randolph’s slam dunk with made it 98-95, but Jrue Holiday, who
had 15 assists to go with his 18 points, sank two free throws with
14 seconds remaining to give Philadelphia a seemingly safe
Before the game, it was noted that Karl’s team has been flying
under the radar because of the Heat’s streak that included a
comeback Wednesday night from a 27-point deficit in Cleveland.
”That’s fine,” Karl said. ”That’s fine with me. I just don’t
want to get down 27 tonight. I don’t think we can shoot the 3 as
well as Miami does and make the comeback.”
Turns out, the Nuggets needed a big comeback of their own.
”Yeah, you need one of these,” Brewer said. ”You see the Heat
win. They were down 27 last night and they win a crazy game. So,
it’s fitting for us to win a game like this.”
It might have been the most satisfying of their 14 straight
”It was a crazy win,” Gallinari said. ”We didn’t play our
best basketball. We know it. Everybody knows it. And to win in this
way, even when you don’t play your best basketball is a very good
The Sixers wanted to hold their heads high – but they couldn’t
quit shaking them in disbelief.
”Effort was there, energy was there, it was closing out the
game,” Turner said. ”That’s not what lost the game. Situations
occurred. That’s some crazy stuff that just happened. The season’s
been rough. That’s one you just shake your head. It seems like a
fluke to me.”
Philadelphia coach Doug Collins was agitated at his team’s
failure to close out a winnable game.
”We had a seven-point lead and the ball,” Collins lamented.
”I can sit here and do my best TNT (sugar-coating) and the end
result is we didn’t get it done.”
Even the Nuggets marveled at the improbability of their win.
”They played good basketball,” Miller said. ”They forced us
to turn the ball over, slowed us down a little bit. Both teams were
just winded. The luck was just our way tonight.”
And Karl found a silver lining.
”I thought Philadelphia was more athletic than us most of the
night,” Karl said. ”We missed Wilson’s defense and alertness,
missed Ty’s speed. When you take guys out, sometimes the puzzle
doesn’t fit. Philadelphia, from the beginning, looked quicker and
faster. I think we’re fortunate. We overcame a lazy, mental
preparation of a game.
”To play as poorly as we did (and still win) is a good sign.
It’s the sign of a good team. We have two of our main guys out and
don’t play well and still figure out how to beat a team that has
been playing well.”
NOTES: Chandler said his shoulder felt better Thursday, but
added that he plans to sit out Denver’s next two games and hopes to
return March 27 against San Antonio. … Lawson leads the Nuggets
with a 16.9-point scoring average. Chandler is averaging 11.8
points and five rebounds.
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