Nuggets 105, Bucks 95
Corey Brewer and the Denver Nuggets turned on their high-scoring offense and left the Milwaukee Bucks behind.
Brewer came off the bench and scored a season-high 22 points as the Nuggets started their five-game road trip with 105-95 victory Tuesday night.
The Nuggets came in averaging 104.1 points per game and have scored 100 plus points in eight of the last 14 games. Miami leads the NBA in scoring at 106.2 points a game.
With guard Rudy Fernandez out with a right Achilles tendon strain, coach George Karl turned to Brewer for a spark and wasn't disappointed.
Brewer, playing a season-high 34:19 minutes, was 8 of 14 from the floor and made 3 of 6 from behind the arc.
''Corey is playing well enough to the point where we are going to have find minutes for him,'' Karl said. ''I think he brings energy to our team. Usually energy and aggressiveness are positive personalities of a successful team.''
Denver went on a 19-4 run midway through the second quarter and opened up a 19-point lead. Six fast-break points sparked the surge and the Nuggets finished with 17 in the first half.
Brewer hit a 3 and made a fast-break layup to add to the surge.
''Personally when I come into the game, I just try to pick up the pace,'' he said. ''Try to bring some energy. Try to get everybody going up and down because when we are playing fast, we are at our best.''
The Bucks were neither playing fast nor at their best.
Brandon Jennings did his part in the fourth quarter, but it just wasn't enough.
He scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth and first-round pick Tobias Harris added for 14 for the Bucks, who lost for the first time in five home games.
Milwaukee last opened a season with five straight home wins in the 2007-08 season.
Jennings' driving layup got Milwaukee to 100-91 with 2:47 left, but Danilo Gallinari made two free throws and a 3 that stopped the Bucks from creeping any closer.
Al Harrington added 16 points, Gallinari and Nene each had 14, Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson had 11 apiece.
The Nuggets easily capitalized on a poor performance from the Bucks' starting frontcourt and swept the two-game series this season.
Denver beat Milwaukee 91-86 on January 2.
Stephen Jackson scored two points, Andrew Bogut had two and two rebounds and Jon Leuer added 11 and one board for Milwaukee.
''I don't think it was much offensively as it was just what they were able to do on us defensively,'' Leuer said. ''They got those easy buckets in the first half. We kind of cut it down in the second half.''
Afflalo said the Nuggets' defense played a big part in the victory.
''Our mental approach to the game was much, much better to start the game, especially on the defensive end,'' he said. ''I thought defensively for the most part we had our focus tonight.''
This one wasn't even close despite Jennings' effort. Ersan Ilyasova grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds for Milwaukee which failed to rebound after losing 94-82 to Philadelphia on Monday, their eighth straight loss on the road.
Leading 63-44, the Nuggets protected their double-digit margin throughout the third quarter. The Bucks chipped away and pulled to 74-60, but two 3s by Harrington and one from Brewer kept the Nuggets in charge.
Brewer came off the bench late in the first quarter, but did all his damage in the second when he scored 12 of his 14 points as the Nuggets finally revved up their offense.
Andre Miller started a 26-13 surge with a jumper followed by 3-pointers from Harrington, Brewer and Gallinari. Then Denver came inside and attacked the basket. Brewer had one of three layups, and Lawson and Nene added two free throws apiece. Lawson's layup ended the run and gave the Nuggets a 63-44 lead at the half.
Bogut picked his third foul with 2:21 left in the second and played only 19:04 minutes. He along with Jackson sat out the fourth quarter.
Neither team shot well in the first quarter. Denver made 8 of 15 (53.3 percent) while Milwaukee was 7 of 20 (35 percent), making just three shots during a three-minute stretch.
Notes: Nuggets G Fernandez was inactive against the Bucks, but will be a game-time decision against Philadelphia. He left the Sunday's game against Utah in the second quarter with the injured right Achilles tendon. ... Bucks F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who missed the last five and 10 of the last 12 games with right knee tendinitis, was available.