DENVER — Denver's bench is giving the Nuggets' starting five a push for playing time. At this rate, the reserves might be just as good as the starters.
This time, it was Corey Brewer scoring 22 points and being, as his coach said, "a pest defensively," and Wilson Chandler chipping in 13 points in the Nuggets' 104-88 win over the depleted Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.
Starter Ty Lawson had 18 points and Kenneth Faried had another double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, but it was Denver's bench — which outscored Oklahoma City's reserves by 60 points in their last game — that provided the effort and energy that helped the Nuggets finally shake the Hawks.
Behind their reserves' 50-point night, the Nuggets won their 11th straight game at the Pepsi Center and matched Miami's NBA-best 26-3 home record.
"It's the energy, the altitude, but we're also jelling as a team," Brewer said. "We're starting to play together and we know each other a little bit."
With Chandler and Brewer providing the scoring off the bench, JaVale McGee chipped in some more amazing dunks to go with five electrifying blocked shots and Andre Miller dished out nine assists.
"It's been great," Chandler said. "We've got a chemistry going. We're pretty much going in at the same time, we just go out there and play hard. Andre and JaVale hook up for a few lobs and JaVale's on the boards blocking. Andre's orchestrating the whole deal and Corey's running around on defense, fast breaks."
The crowd feeds off Denver's bench players and "they're probably one of the forces that helps us win most of our games at home," Lawson said.
At .896, the Nuggets are in position to post their best home winning percentage in franchise history. They went 36-5 for an .878 home winning percentage in 1976-77, their first season in the NBA.