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.