I woke up this morning, realizing a Denver Nuggets loss would be imminent. Then, a miraculous thing happened: Dwight Howard would not be available for the Nuggets-Magic game, and some where, in the deep recesses of my blackened soul, I saw this glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, the Denver Nuggets could squeak out a much-needed win against Orlando. That is EXACTLY what happened as the Nuggets edged out Orlando 104-101.
I will be frank with this sentiment: If Dwight had played, Denver, more than not, would not have stood a chance. They BLEW a 12-point lead to a Howard-less squad. Let me repeat that. Denver BLEW a 12-point lead to a Howard-less squad. I’m going to tell you something even more shocking and very telling about the Denver Nuggets: they made Big Baby relevent again. Did you see his numbers??? He chipped in 18 points and 16 rebounds ……… why was he pulling Kevin Love numbers?!?!?! Embarrassing.
They gave up on offensive rebounding – only 7 offensive rebounds to Orlando’s 18- and that was WITHOUT Dwight?? Flat out humiliating. Lineups were an issue, but when aren’t they?? On the flip side, when does Denver show consistent effort on this front? It must be 110% effort in all areas of the game 100% of the time. No exceptions. Once again, this isn’t a pass for George Karl and his end of game lineups ie. small ball, Denver was able to squeeze out this win, but that will not always be the case.
My game ball goes to Dwight Howard…… Okay, Okay, I may be kidding. Kinda. It really goes to Ty “I break ankles” Lawson with his 25 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds. He was tapping into his aggressiveness and attacked offensively. That was something wonderous to see, as I hate to see him defer to other teammates when I KNOW he can penetrate and attack the rim more efficiently than any other player on the hardwood. Now, if only Ty Lawson could tap into this during every Nuggets game.
Arron Afflalo chipped in 22 points, and Denver fans are looking at the AAA that they expected him to be – Consistent, not forcing up shots, finding those open looks. Kenneth Faried had only 4 points, but 9 rebounds and 2 pivotal blocked shots; one of which was a MONSTROUS blocked shot on Jameer Nelson. Kosta Koufos stat line , 6 points and 4 rebounds, are deceiving, as his production was more than his numbers indicate.
JaVale McGee. Whelp. Fans now realize what Wizards fans must feel like after watching a head scratching performance from McGee. It was a ‘What The Hell” play after play tonight for the ex-Wizard which led to his limited minutes, obviously. Despite this, Denver was able to pull a win out and that, my friends, is something I’m happy about.
A playoff seeding note: With Denver’s win over Orlando and Houston’s OT loss to Indiana, gives Denver the 7th playoff seeding birth with a 1 game advantage over Houston.
However, as much as I want to be critical, I really can’t lavish in that dimension too long, the Nuggets came up with a huge road win – when it mattered the most. Yes, they had a 12-point lead, that they did give up, this I understand. They were out-rebounded – did I mention WITHOUT Dwight Howard?? Buuuuuutttt, it comes down to this: A win is a win.
Let me repeat that – A WIN IS A WIN!!