All Timofey Mozgov ever wanted to do was play. Just play.

He'd do what the coaches wanted, even if it wasn't always done right. He loved basketball, but he wondered why the game couldn't love him back.

That was last season.

This season? This is entirely different.

Mozgov looks entirely different, as evidenced in his monster 17-point, 20-rebound performance in the Nuggets seventh straight win, a 111-87 blowout of the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night.

"He's getting an opportunity and he's making the most of it," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said.

But it's not that simple. It rarely ever is.

Mozgov's brief NBA history is of a player who routinely lost confidence on an NBA court, yet thrived as a member of the Russian national team. The contrast was so stark it became a punch line in the Nuggets' locker room.

"Where's Russian National Team Timo?"

That player is here.

Mozgov credits Shaw.

"He puts you on the court. He trusts in you," Mozgov said. "It's better. It's simple."

Shaw credits Mozgov's willingness to listen and carry out the instructions.

"He found out pretty quickly what we were asking him to do, and he's going out and doing it," Shaw said. "Set good screens, roll hard to the basket, rim-run on a miss; if you don't get the rebound, you should be the first one down getting good position. And we'll throw the ball inside to you if you do those things. Offensively he's put himself in the right positions to make the plays we need him to make, and defensively his size gives us a different dimension."

The Nuggets, who improved to 11-6, needed that dimension when Nets center Brook Lopez got off to a fast start, pouring in 10 points in the first quarter. Mozgov and a Nuggets defense that mixed up its double-team looks held Lopez to two points in the final three quarters.

The third quarter was the knockout quarter.

The Nuggets turned up the heat on both ends of the court, and the Nets simply folded. Denver outscored Brooklyn 31-15, and it seemed everyone got in on the fun. Darrell Arthur and Randy Foye led the charge with six points apiece in the third. Mozgov had four points and four rebounds in the quarter.