Also key to Denver snapping a five-game losing streak against the Thunder in the last 21 days was Nuggets coach George Karl stressing that point guard Ty Lawson to go into attack mode.
“He (Karl) says that when I attack, it fuels it fuels the rest of the team,” Lawson said. “It gets everyone involved and that is what I wanted to do in the second half. That is my nature to get everyone else the ball and then to get myself the ball, because I have the ball all the time so it's easy for me. That is what I tried to do the first couple of games and coach was like, ‘You know you need to attack early. We play a lot better when you do that.' So that is what I started doing.”
Lawson finished with 27 points, three assists and three rebounds. His ability to penetrate and kick the ball to open teammates in clutch situations provided multiple sparks.
“He had a special game,” Karl said of Lawson. “We have to get Ty and Raymond (Felton) as many minutes a game attacking the rim and accept that (OKC) will probably block some shots, accept that their interior defense is going to make some plays. It is also who we are and Ty was pretty special in that area.”
Smith, who potentially was playing his last game in a Nuggets uniform, came off the bench to score 15 points and shoot 3 for 5 from 3-point range.
“For us to be successful, Ty has to play like that all the time,” Smith said. “He has to be aggressive. He has to attack. He wants to get us in the game, but at the same time if your shot is there, or if you got the lane, you have to take it.”