Denver dunks on, downs Charlotte on court, 113-99
While the NBA's Slam Dunk contest may have been last weekend in Houston, the Denver Nuggets made Time Warner Cable Arena their own personal highlight reel on Saturday.
The Nuggets (35-22) tallied 14 jams en route to a 113-99 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats (13-43).
Center JaVale McGee made seven of those dunks for Denver, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds.
Mike Dunlap, a former Denver assistant under current Nuggets coach George Karl from 2006-08, was pleased with his team's performance after a 30-point loss to the Chicago Bulls on Fridays.
“It was a good physical effort, much better than the night before," Dunlap said. "So, that box got checked off. We were down six at the half, playing good basketball, visually appealing as far as sharing the ball. We played good on the boards, which is hard to do against (Denver). They have some talent there, but basically our turnovers led to easy baskets. When it comes down to trying to make your way back, you have to take care of the ball, so that’s what stood out to me. Our half-court defense at times was really sturdy, but then we’d turn it over, and they’d get an easy bucket.”
The Bobcats stayed competitive throughout the first half of Saturday's contest and trailed 60-54 at halftime. Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the charge for Charlotte in the half with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Charlotte forward Josh McRoberts, who was acquired by Charlotte from the Orlando Magic before Thursday's NBA trade deadline for forward Hakim Warrick, saw his first action as a member of the Bobcats on Saturday. He recorded three rebounds in his more than five minutes on the court.
Denver stretched its lead to double digits through the second half, outscoring Charlotte 53-45.
Former University of North Carolina standout Ty Lawson led the Nuggets in the half, scoring 14 of his game-high 20 points. He also added five assists and five rebounds.
“I think he’s just understanding the rhythm of the game and becoming more assertive in the plays," said Karl of Lawson's play on Saturday. "He's gotten confidence with his jumper that he didn’t have earlier in the season.”
Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 24 points and five assists, while Jeffery Taylor added a season-high 18 points off of the bench.
Dunlap was pleased more with Taylor's defense than his offensive accolades.
“He had 18 points, but also I always look at his defense first and he had a tough assignment," Dunlap said. "I thought he was very feisty and did his job there. Every time out that I can give him those minutes he takes advantage of them, even when he doesn’t shoot as well as he did today. His report card was excellent today and I have to find him more minutes.”
Taylor credited his breakout performance Saturday with the Bobcats coaching staff.
“The coaches have been telling me all year to be more aggressive," Taylor said. "It just kind of clicking a little bit. I would say just being able to finish and getting to the rim. The guys are looking for me on the back side. It all kind of came together.”
The Bobcats start a four-game road trip on Tuesday when they travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers. Charlotte also faces Utah, Sacramento and Portland on their West Coast road swing before returning to Time Warner Cable Arena on March 6 to face the Brooklyn Nets.