This was the type of game that shows how win streaks usually come to an end. The heavily-favored team comes out with a lack of energy, the underdogs pounce early, and the home team lets its opponent hang around longer than it should, and is unable to put it together in time to keep the streak alive.
A lot of that happened in Denver on Thursday, except for the way things ended over the game’s final few possessions. The Nuggets came from eight points down with under two minutes to play, and five points down with 14 seconds remaining to steal the 101-100 victory, which stretched the team’s winning streak to 14 straight games.
Corey Brewer scored a career-high 29 points on 10-18 shooting, to go along with five steals to lead all scorers. He scored 11 of his points in the fourth, and was the one making the huge plays for his team down the stretch that ultimately paved the way to victory.
With Denver down five and inbounding the ball with 14 seconds remaining, the ball went to Danilo Gallinari, who found Brewer on the wing. Brewer knocked down the open look from three to cut the lead to two, and as it turned out, he was just getting started.
Evan Turner of the Sixers was fouled on the other end to stop the clock, but he missed both of his free throw attempts. That left the door open for the Nuggets, and Brewer was the one who took advantage.
With 6.8 seconds remaining, Denver inbounded the ball once again, and this time, Gallinari found Brewer curling from the wing to the top of the three-point arc. As Brewer rose up for a long three-point attempt, Damien Wilkins fouled him with 2.1 seconds remaining.
Brewer hit all three free throws to give the Nuggets the 101-100 lead, which was ultimately the final margin of victory.
It’s worth noting that Wilkins led the Sixers with 24 points, but committing the foul in that situation undid all of his positive contributions in one single play. Turner shares just as much of the blame if not more, because as a career free throw shooter of close to 75 percent, there’s no excuse for missing two when the game is on the line.
Brewer normally plays between 20-25 minutes per game, but saw more action than usual thanks to Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler both sitting out this one due to injury. It turned out to be a positive for the Nuggets on this night, who were able to run their win streak to 14 straight games thanks in large part to Brewer’s heroics.