NEW YORK (AP) — A small but spirited cheer broke out in a corner of Barclays Center, a contrast to the boos that rained down for much of the second half.
Timofey Mozgov had just grabbed his career-high 20th rebound late in Denver’s 111-87 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, and the players on the Nuggets’ bench were thrilled.
“It’s just a great deal for us and for him. He works extremely hard and he did a hell of a job going against their bigs,” Nuggets guard Nate Robinson said.
Mozgov, Robinson and the rest of the subs are providing plenty for the Nuggets to celebrate lately.
Mozgov also scored 17 points in another superb effort by the Denver bench, and the Nuggets raced to their seventh straight victory.
Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton each added 15 points for the Nuggets, who got 57 points from the NBA’s second-highest scoring second unit. That wasn’t quite the 72 they rang up against Toronto on Sunday, but it was more than enough to dominate the third quarter against the short-handed Nets.
Denver outscored Brooklyn 31-15 in the period that has given the Nets season-long problems, putting it away with a 15-0 run midway through the quarter.
“We just kept attacking. That’s what we’re going to do all season. We’re going to keep attacking teams,” said Robinson, who had to shoot two free throws lefty after a hard landing on his right wrist. “We’re never going to stop playing hard. We’re going to play as hard as we can for as long as we can, no matter the results.”
Joe Johnson scored 22 points for the Nets, who still haven’t won consecutive games this season and fell to 5-13 heading into their nationally televised first meeting Thursday with the just-a-little-worse Knicks (3-13).
Andray Blatche added 15 for the Nets, playing without injured starters Paul Pierce and Deron Williams.
“Can’t hang our heads and feel sorry for ourselves because no one in the league is going to feel sorry for us,” Brooklyn’s Kevin Garnett said. “But need to figure this out soon. I don’t think anyone around here is having fun and losing is definitely not fun.”
The Nets shook up their coaching staff before the game, with Jason Kidd reassigning Lawrence Frank to a non-bench role in which he will write daily reports but won’t be at games or practices. Kidd said he and his former coach when he played for the Nets had “different philosophies.”
Kidd hired Frank not long after beating out Brian Shaw for the job in June. Shaw, a longtime successful NBA assistant, interviewed just after Kidd and thought he had a good chance at the Nets job. Instead, he replaced George Karl in Denver and has found much smoother sailing.
The Nets trailed by just five after Alan Anderson’s layup with 7:35 left in the third quarter before Denver ran off 15 straight, including consecutive dunks by Faried and Wilson Chandler, and later back-to-back jumpers by Darrell Arthur to make it 80-60. The Nets were a dismal 4 for 15 and outrebounded 15-7 in the quarter, which ended with some of the loudest boos of the season at Barclays Center.
“Guys are starting to look like they had been in games that we had let go of the rope,” Kidd said. “So that’s something that we’ve got to address and get better at.”
The Nuggets’ reserves average 45.2 points, trailing only the Los Angeles Lakers, who won here last week. Shaw went early to the 7-foot-1 Mozgov during Brook Lopez’s 10-point first quarter, and the Nets All-Star center had only two more the rest of the game.
“All we do, we just try to bring energy in the game and play hard. The harder you play, the more you stay on the court,” Mozgov said. “I want to stay on the court 49 minutes, but I know that’s not possible. But I want to stay on the court as much as possible, so I’m going to just push hard. That’s it.”
Coming home did little to help Brooklyn, which is actually on its first homestand of the season. The Nets haven’t played consecutive games at Barclays Center, and Thursday’s game will make them the last NBA team to have played two in a row in their own building.
The Nets shot 55 percent in the first quarter in opening a 29-27 lead. The Nuggets sprinted by them, scoring 31 points in the second to bring a 58-50 advantage to the locker room.
NOTES: The Nets started a stretch of 9 of 12 games at home. … The Nuggets made seven 3-pointers, ending their franchise-record streak with eight or more at eight games. … Nets reserve Andrei Kirilenko, who has been limited to just four games because of back spasms, said before the game he has no timetable for his return after a couple of previous setbacks when he thought he was close.
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