Faried's slams lead Nuggets past Bulls 128-96
"Yeah, they're short-handed, they're down a couple of guys," Karl said, unable to avoid a smile as he perused the Nuggets' best stat sheet of the season. "You know, we did what we had to do and it was fun watching the dunks and the 3-ball going in and the defensive energy and Kenneth bouncing around."
Faried learned before the game he had been selected to take part in the slam dunk competition during All-Star festivities in Houston on Feb. 16.
"I mean, I'm ecstatic about it, happy to go out there and showcase what I can do and excite the fans," Faried said before going out and nearly hitting a double-double by the time the Nuggets went to the locker room with a 63-58 halftime lead.
His biggest dunk in the first half came on the break when Ty Lawson's layup rimmed out and he timed it perfectly to throw down the follow-up. But his best one came in the third quarter when Lawson stripped Noah and flipped the ball to Faried for the fast-break bucket that gave Denver an 80-64 cushion.
Moments later, Faried tied up Noah on his way to the basket, part of a stellar defensive effort during a 28-6 spurt that allowed the Nuggets to coast to their seventh straight win at the Pepsi Center.
"It was an offensive game in the first half. They came out the third quarter and just smoked us," Thibodeau said. "They played very good defense. They got 37 in the third, got a big cushion, and that was the game."
With the game out of hand at 100-74 after three quarters, Lawson was the only starter for either team to log any minutes in the fourth quarter and he took a seat after just two minutes.
Lawson finished with 16 points and 12 assists and the Nuggets were an astonishing plus-40 when he was on the court.
"It was fun, everybody was into it," Faried said. "I mean, it was a hell of a night."
NOTES: The last Denver player to participate in the slam dunk contest was J.R. Smith in 2009. ... Before the game, Nuggets coach George Karl met with 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon and assistant captain Dottie Pepper along with LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. Karl is a member of the Colorado Golf Club where the Americans and Europeans will compete for the cup this August.
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