There are games that are beautiful to watch — such as the blowout win over the Utah Jazz — and then there are games that are gritty, tough wins that are indicative of a team that’s tenacious. That’s exactly what the 107-101 double OT win was for the Denver Nuggets against the Golden State Warriors that had the advantage to take this win.
Warriors had three games in four nights and this was Denver’s fourth game in five nights; needless to say both teams were physically drained. This game exemplifies the mental fortitude the Denver Nuggets has; when games are tough, shots aren’t going, you’re not getting those calls; mental toughness is often a deciding factor in games such as the aforementioned.
That’s the biggest takeaway for myself about this game, while the game was U-G-L-Y, it easily could become one of the best wins this season because of those reasons. It’s as if we watched Denver grow up right before our eyes with spectacular performances from Kenneth Faried, Andre Iguodala, and Danilo “CLUTCH” Gallinari.
The NBA Mistress Game Ball goes to Faried, Gallo, and Iguodala. The Manimal was a beast, once again, with his incredible line of 18 points, 17 rebounds (the most for a Warriors opponent this season) including 9 offensive, 2 steals, and three blocked shots. Manimal is a key to Denver’s success as he is keeping that ball alive for the team and granting them extra possessions, much-needed possessions on a night like this. Gallinari came into the game shooting less than 28% from the field, he started the first half much of the same way shooting 0-for-10, but in the second half — and especially in the clutch — he would be divisive in Denver’s win. In the second half and OT, he would go 8-fo-12 including a pivotal three-pointer. Finally, Iguodala played — what I believe — is his best game thus far. He racked up 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists. His presence was seen on both ends of the court, and his execution on the offense end is beginning to cohere with the rest of the team. This is the Iguodala that many Nuggets fans — including myself — fell in love with.
Kosta Koufos had a phenomenal game as well in which he recorded five blocks and was physical. His defense and blocks might be overshadowed by Gallo’s and AI9′s late-game shots, but Koufos was HUGE in all of this as well. JaVale McGee had a few erroneous decisions, but his boards and blocks — should have been three — outweighed his questionable decisions.
Andre Miller accumulated 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists was incredible as well, despite his two turnovers late in the game, Miller is key when Denver’s second unit is in. Ty Lawson had an off game; Warriors clogged the paint so he couldn’t penetrate the way he typically does, thus his confidence was drained and he was nearly useless in overtime.
Some may question and reiterate Denver’s last four games are meaningless due to the opponents, but we’ve seen the Bobcats win over Dallas, Dallas beat the Lakers, Miami lose to the Knicks, are those games meaningless as well?
When the games matter — they go against or for the record — they aren’t meaningless.
Denver has shown up this past week, but the real test comes next week when they face the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, but if results and improvement are any indication, Denver is prepared to explode.