Lawson works overtime after scoreless game against Miami

Nuggets point guard up past midnight working on perimeter shot
by Aaron Lopez

No coaches. No spectators. No cameras. No teammates.

Just Ty Lawson alone with his thoughts and his jump shot.

After a forgettable shooting night against the Miami Heat, the Denver Nuggets point guard immediately changed out of his uniform and into practice gear before heading upstairs to the Pepsi Center practice court.

For about hour, Lawson worked on his jumper until fatigue finally set in sometime after midnight.

“I came back (to the locker room and) was disappointed in myself,” he said Friday. “I probably stayed here for like an hour and just got a lot of shots up trying to get my rhythm back.”

Lawson had eight assists in Denver’s loss to the Heat, but he was 0-for-7 from the field and went scoreless for just the eighth time in 215 career games.

“I missed a couple shots early and lost my confidence,” he said. “When you lose your confidence, things go bad.”

In an effort to take Lawson out of his comfort zone, the Heat forced the ball out of his hands by sending two defenders at every opportunity. He was able to get into the lane on a fast break with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter, but his driving layup was wiped out by a charge call.

The Nuggets were in the midst of an 18-6 run at that point, and Lawson’s basket would have given them their first lead of the game.

“The momentum was so powerful at that moment,” Denver coach George Karl said. “That would’ve given us the lead, and I think our defense was playing well enough that we would have sustained it.”

Karl said Lawson is just one of several young players trying to shoulder more responsibility than at any other point in their career. It is a gradual process that will involve some growing pains.

“It’s a stress – a mental stress – that a player’s got to learn how to handle,” Karl said. “Ty has to realize he can’t do anything about it except play well. If he plays hard and plays well, everything will take care of itself.”

As his team prepared to open a three-game road trip, Karl kept the message simple: Play hard and play with pride.

The coach singled out second-year forward Kenneth Faried as an example. Faried has recorded five straight double-doubles by running the floor and attacking the offensive glass. Against Miami, he finished with 16 points and a career-high 20 rebounds (11 offensive).

“I told the team, you can’t just rely upon Kenneth,” Karl said. “Kenneth is fantastic. Some of you – a lot of you – have to jump into the party. Be a part of the party because passion and intensity wins games in the NBA.”

Faried, a member of the 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie First Team, doesn’t plan to slow down. He wants his enthusiasm and energy to be contagious throughout the roster.

“Personally I’m going to continue to do what I have to and I’m going to make sure my teammates follow suit,” he said. “We’re going to play hard. My teammates believe that if we run and rebound and defend the three, we’re going to be fine. If we build on that and get that play-hard mentality, everything else is going to follow suit.”