Wilson Chandler's game winning three. - Doug Pensinger
It seemed like the Nuggets were going to get another fourth quarter win, but the Blazers fought back and sent the game to overtime. And OT is where Wilson Chandler played the part of hero.
Well that was something, wasn't it!?
"Iggy beat his guy off the dribble, my guy helped, and he passed to me," said Chandler. "It was a shot I had to take."
Take and make. Chandler buried the three ball from the corner, but he wasn't done there. The Blazers would get one more crack to tie things up, but a stingy Nuggets defense wouldn't be denied.
"We wanted to switch everything, make them take a tough shot, and grab the rebound." said Chandler.
And it was Chandler who secured the ball after Damian Lillard's 24-foot three-pointer missed its mark. Lillard said after the game that the design was to get LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews, or Nic Batum the shot, but he wound up having to take it because of that aforementioned quote by Chandler. The Nuggets were switching and guarding against the long-ball.
After Chandler was fouled, the ball was taken out of bounds by the Nuggets. Ty Lawson would head to the foul line after Denver inbounded the ball and sink one of two free throws to give Denver the 115-111 win over their division rivals.
"We let one get away," said Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge. "We were definitely in a position to win the game. We had opportunities to win and we had some breakdowns out there that we shouldn't have had. We could have made more shots down the stretch than we did."
Lawson liked how his team handled the stress after allowing Portland to get back into the game.
"It makes us stronger and it makes us more mature," said Lawson. "Especially [because] they had a late rally. We were up 10 points and they came all the way back. Just to deal with something like that is big for us since we're all young."
I absolutely loved the offensive/defensive substituting by George Karl. When JaVale McGee fouled out, it was Kosta Koufos who came back into the game. Before McGee, it was Faried in the game, but he was getting eaten up by Aldridge inside. It was interesting that Karl turned to McGee and only put Koufos back in when McGee fouled out. Then the Nuggets took a timeout after Aldridge hit two free throws with :32 seconds left to play and Karl inserted Chandler into the game for Koufos.
"At the moment I just felt comfortable," said Karl. "We were talking about putting Gallo on Aldridge and fronting him because he's our best front guy. And then Wilson would be the better defender, reading when to help and how to help."
The move worked better than the coach could have hoped for. Leaving Chandler in the game proved to be the winning decision.
The Nuggets once again turned up the pressure in the second half. Portland committed just 6 turnovers in the first half (which somehow the Nuggets turned into 11 points) and shot 7-15 from downtown. But in the second half the Blazers were an atrocious 1-9 from three point land and committed 11 turnovers (which turned into just 6 points for the Nuggets). And in overtime Portland was 0-3 from deep and they turned the ball over one time (0 points for Denver).
That was a big win for the Nuggets. The team has won six in a row and they face a tough game tomorrow night in Oklahoma City.
Welcome back Mr. Chandler.
Karl on his team's efforts vs. Blazers:
"Ty had a good rhythm, and Wilson in the corner in the pick-and-roll is pretty tough to cover too. We were a little bit lucky, but we've been piecing our wins together in a very solid way. Whatever we have to do. We beat Portland with the three-ball, which that's not how we're probably going to beat them ever again this year. Tonight we did. Gallo made a big three, A.I. had one in overtime, and Ty was good. It was an offensive game, I don't think either coach or team could be very happy with how the defensive end of the court was played."
"I thought in the second half our defense got picked up in the third quarter and got us a lead. We were a little better defensively and then I thought we played a little tight in the end and they made some shots. I kind of like close games. I think it makes you better. I think it makes you aware of how you have to play in big time situations and challenging situations. Even though I'd like to see us piece the game together more consistently at a higher level of possessions, but in the NBA right now you're learning that. Every team is learning how to get to that 40-42 minute mark of playing really solid basketball. And we're probably at the 35 minute mark right now."
Karl on his team allowing the opposition to get off to hot shooting nights:
Karl: "It's the start we give good shooting team. It's tough taking away the confidence of a team that's making shots. As I've said, defeinsively I'm sure the film will show a lot of mistakes, but it's a win.
Karl on his team going to a trap defense a little more on Lillard in the second half:
Karl: "We're definitely trying to get more aggressive. Any time we put pressure and play aggressive, we have a tendency to play better basketball. The Golden State game had that same personality, I think that Orlando game had some of that same personality - not all throughout the game - but kind of when we needed it. I don't know how many turnovers they had at halftime, but I know it wasn't very many. They ended up with 18 [turnovers], statistically we probably win the game because of points off turnovers as much as anything."
Karl on Ty's performance vs. Damian Lillard and the Blazers:
"I thought Ty did a great job. I actually thought, in the first half, I kept Ty out of the game too much. He had a great start, I know he wasn't feeling very good, I should have probably rotated him back in earlier than I did."
Lawson on his big night (24 points and 12 assists in 40 minutes):
"I was just trying to attack. When I attack, it brings assists because people have to double me or come over to help, so that's what I was trying to do. We just played well in the second half; got steals and deflections in the third and fourth and got easy baskets. And in overtime we just hit big shots."
Chandler on the game winner and how he was feeling physically against the Blazers:
Chandler: "It definitely felt good. The way the game was going, for me anyway, I was a little fatigued. I had a little muscle fatigue today, so I was kind of struggling throughout the game. To come in and hit a shot like that was big."
Chandler on Gallinari's big shot ability (Gallo hit a huge three late to turn a 107-106 deficit into a 109-107 lead):
Chandler: "No surprise at all. I've played with Gallo most of my career, except for one year, so I'm used to seeing Gallo make shots like that. He loves to take shots like that."
Karl on if the Chandler shot was a designed play for him:
"No, it is just a penetrate the gap and see what happens, try to get [Iguodala] to the rim. It is a spacing-gap play."
Nuggets on facing the Thunder tomorrow night:
Chandler: "They kind of play the same way we play. They've got a very athletic point guard in Westbrook and K.D. he's definitely a good shooter for his size. And they've got a lot of good defensive players. For us it's [about] coming out setting a tempo and finishing the game."
Karl: "We can go down to Oklahoma City with some energy and go after what people think is the best team in the Western Conference. We'll have fun with it."
For the opposition's take visit: Blazers Edge
Box Score: here.
Think Chandler hasn't played the role of hero for the Nuggets before? Remember this game against the Spurs from March of 2011?
Ill Will getting all game winner like.
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