This favorable beginning was to be the recipe for success as the Nuggets were playing with swagger against the hottest team in the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks came into this game allowing a stingy 86 points per game in their previous 13 consecutive wins. A semi-collapse in the second quarter that can be attributed to Jerry Stackhouse, one time NBA scoring champion, coming off the bench and making the game ten points at half was about as close as the Mavericks could muster. Stackhouse ended the game with 20 but was contained by a defensive team effort by the Nuggets. Dirk Nowitzki was also effectively managed to 19 total points, well below his average.
Carmelo Anthony took on a new role of offensive assistance rather than provider by shelling out 10 assists and scoring 24 points. Kenyon Martin had a breakout game by going 14-18 from the field and scoring a game-high 34 when all was said and done. Now I know that I have not been on Martin’s good side, and the Doctor will never flip flop where he stands, but it was nice to see Kenyon step up. Playing with a purpose is nice to see once and awhile, but if you can sit out on Wednesday and score 34 on Friday. How hurt were you? And where was Marcus Camby? Just once the Doctor would like to see the ideal starting five start the game. Maybe after a week off and the All-Star game everyone will be kosher to play.
In hindsight, this game was humungous for the Denver Nuggets. Getting this win and beating one of the hottest and deepest teams in the league should tell the Nuggets that they are capable of being one of the upper echelon teams in the NBA. When the team comes out and produces as a unit they are certainly strong enough to beat anyone. The Nuggets are off today, but are right back in action on Sunday. They need to examine this game film and incorporate the intangibles that got Friday’s win. If they can do that, I see no reason why they shouldn’t start their own winning streak at the cost of Ray Allen and the Supersonics. I expect Carmelo to come out and show the league just how unjust of a decision it was to appoint Allen to the All-Star game instead him. He would never say it, but trust me; it will be on his mind tomorrow night in Key Arena.