Friday night, Denver showed the proper face in terms of surging past adversity in which they defeated the Phoenix Suns, 105-99, in a vital Western Conference matchup in which (before the game) the Suns were only 2 games back from Denver, so a loss would have been devastating to the Mile High crew. No, a Gallo-less Denver should have not blown out the Suns. Here are the Suns last 5 matchups: Win over Utah by 2 points, W over Kings by 9 points, Win over Nola by 7 points, loss to LAC by 17 points and a loss to the Spurs by 7 points.
Sorry Denver fans, the Nuggets are nowhere near the Blake/Chris Paul show.
Outside of Corey Brewer, JaVake McGee and Ty Lawson’s lack of offense, this was a solid game; a retelling of the story that Denver had earlier in the season and that is team basketball. As I mentioned above, this was the first time, in quite some time, Denver prevailed when they HAD TO – There was effort and heart, right along with production. The effort during this game was a true picture of a team win – Multiple players stepping up and playing Nuggets basketball as it should be.
I know I have to give my game ball out to someone and outside of Afflalo’s STELLAR 30-point, 5 rebound game and Andre’s BEAUTIFUL game (see below), is the rookie Jordan Hamilton. He received the start over Brewer (who has been in a slump as of late and seems to messing with the integrity of the offensive scheme) and was brilliant. In the preseason, I compared him to a more consistent J.R. Smith (Is there such a thing, though?) and Friday night, he made me look good on that comparison. He was composed; he understood his role, made an impact on the offensive side without making HORRIBLE decisions. He was 5-for-9 on the night with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in ONLY 17 minutes. I am looking forward to see more Hamilton in the future.
What can I say about Manimal, that I have not?? He had a steady 12 points and 8 rebounds, but his ENERGY and INTENSITY is what makes him a sight to behold.
What about that Andre Miller dish to Faried?!?! O-H M-Y!! Somewhere, Mr. Naismith is applauding and cheering this rookie beast. Speaking of beasts, where is that Al Harrington lynch mob at?? Al Harrington had a SOLID game, not just scoring from one spot or in one manner. He was that OFFENSIVE ignition when Denver needed someone (Earlier in the season, he did much of the same). He chipped in 23 points on the night.
What about Dre?!?!?! Has someone taken a hold of the OLD, MOODY, DOPEY, Miller and inserted him with someone who is actually make a concentrated effort to win ball games? I am not complaining in the least, this is a refreshing change on Andre’s part. He had a STELLAR game with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Did I mention 13 out of those 15 points came in the 4th quarter?!?! While Kosta wasn’t an offense presence, or rather a HUGE offensive presence, he battled for boards which Denver needed desperately.
What Denver Did Well:
•ONLY 5 turnovers – five turnovers matched franchise-low. Has happened five other times and the most recent time was in February of 2010 against Cleveland.
•Fast-break points; 16-4
•Paint Points; 44-26
•Out-scored Phoenix 26-4 on points off of turnovers
Yes, I could complain about George Karl’s “small ball” lineup (Ty, Dre, AAA, Faried, Al), but to be a proper. knowledgable fan, fanalyst, blogger, I look at the big picture: Denver won. It’s that simple.
A win is a win!