Lawson leads surging Nuggets past Hornets 113-98
The Denver Nuggets started February the same way they finished January.Ty Lawson had 21 points and 13 assists, Andre Iguodala scored 24 and the Nuggets beat the New Orleans Hornets 113-98 on Friday night for their sixth straight victory.The Nuggets continued their fine play in 2013. They won 12 of 15 games in January, including a 10-2 mark at home, and got February started strong.They grabbed a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and unlike Monday, when they let a 14-point lead against Indiana evaporate, they closed it out."In general we've been good getting leads in the fourth quarter, but we've been giving them back," coach George Karl said. "Tonight we didn't do that."Danilo Gallinari finished with 18 points and Corey Brewer had 17 off the bench for the Nuggets, who scored a season-high 32 points off 22 New Orleans turnovers.Ryan Anderson had 21 points and rookie Anthony Davis added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who have dropped three straight and five of six."Our turnovers cost us the game," point guard Greivis Vasquez said. "It was really hard to take care of the ball."That was Denver's game plan, and the Nuggets harassed New Orleans' guards. Vasquez, Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers combined for 12 turnovers."You want to make the right play but you're just throwing the ball to space instead of throwing it with a purpose," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "It happens to a lot of young guys. Not reading how the defense is playing you. That's what they do, they force turnovers and they're really good at that."Denver led by three at halftime and increased it to as many as 11 in the third quarter. Iguodala scored 10 points and Lawson had nine, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave the Nuggets an 85-78 edge heading into the fourth."I was trying to be aggressive and take what they give me," Lawson said. "If they gave me the shot I took it, if not I went to the basket and find Gallo in the corner."The lead grew to 16 with 4:08 left after Iguodala's 3-pointer and Gallinari's fast-break layup. Anderson hit two 3-pointers to cut it to eight with 1:28 remaining, but the Hornets never really threatened."The story of the night was when we had a 10-point lead with 3 minutes to go, we didn't give it up," Iguodala said.New Orleans was in control early before Denver clamped down. The Hornets trailed 26-20 late in the first quarter before scoring the next 14 points to go ahead with 9:29 left in the second. Denver turned up its defense after that, forcing eight turnovers and putting together a 16-4 run to go back ahead.Brewer set the tone with 11 points in the quarter and scored on two fast-break dunks that gave Denver a 42-38 lead. The Nuggets were up 51-48 at halftime."We were planning on that run. They were driving it in transition and we were committing three or four guys to one and they were finding," Williams said. "A couple of times we threw it away and Brewer got away for an easy layup."Gordon, the Hornets' leading scorer, was held to three points on 0-for-2 shooting in the first half. He finished with nine points.NOTES: Denver had a season-high 14 steals. ... Nuggets C JaVale McGee missed his third straight game with a sore left shin. ... Karl was named the Western Conference coach of the month for January. His team went 12-3. It was the seventh time in his career one of his teams has won at least 12 games in a month. ... The Hornets are 8-7 with Gordon in the lineup and 7-25 without him.
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