With the Kenyon saga still continuing, I think that the Nuggets are just beyond it as a team and are willing to do whatever it takes to get wins instead pointing fingers for losses. Against the Raptors, the team cohesiveness and amount of dedication to the fundamentals was an ideal example of what I’m talking about. With Carmelo leaving the game in the third quarter with a ginger hamstring, the ideals that I’m talking about had even more of chance to shine.
The Denver Nuggets pulled together as a unit and realized that even with the three biggest names on the team not available. The win was still attainable. Carmelo gave the Nuggets 14 points before his early departure, but it was the rest of the Nuggets that picked up the slack down the stretch. Reggie Evans was the defensive giant that the game necessitated. Evans pulled down 20 rebounds, defended Chris Bosh, and didn’t even need to score a single point to be effective. He gave the Nuggets exactly what they needed in the absence of Marcus Camby. Andre Miller gave the Nuggets a team high 23 points and eight assists. He continues to be the glue that holds this team together and is the catalyst for almost everything that the Nuggets get accomplished on offense. No surprise that he is amongst the league’s iron men in consecutive games played. In the department of energy, the Nuggets can comfortably rely on Rueben Patterson nightly. Rueben also contributed 15 points to sidle nicely with his intangibles.
These are just the obvious things that I can point to in this victory. The not so obvious are the increasingly consistent contributions that the so called, “Unsung heroes,” of this team are bringing to the pot luck of flavors that is becoming the Denver Nuggets. Greg Buckner has not only shown us that he is the defensive minded stopper that the Nuggets need him to be, but also hit five of eight three pointers. Buckner finished the night with 17 points. Earl Boykins was also phenomenal. The little man comes in and give the Nuggets 27 minutes, energy, tempo, 18 points including four three pointers (some at critical times late in the shot clock), and only turns the ball over once. You can’t ask for much more than that. Then, factor in DerMarr Johnson as a solid contributor and you have a bench that can come in and not only hold the fort, but can be an extension of your starting five while the big guns get a blow. Or in this case, be your big guns when your heavy artillery is on the shelf.
Carmelo’s hamstring is reportidly not going to keep him out of the game against Boston. I’ll also bet that Camby will be back in the line up too. So this leaves us with the topic of Kenyon Martin. Do we even need Kenyon Martin? We have won four straight without him, team chemistry is at an all-time high, and why mess with success? I feel that he is only going to take minutes away from Reggie Evans at this juncture in the season. Evans is a guy who is playing for longevity in this league. It is a contract year for him and he is playing like it. Kenyon has guaranteed money and is playing subsequently with no motivation.
I don’t want to see this team suffer because of one man’s ego. If Kenyon wants to play make him earn it like the rest of these guys. Make him come off the bench and prove to George Karl, his teammates, and the city of Denver that he wants it. If he doesn’t, than keep that knee off the floor so we can trade him in the off season. The Nuggets are getting it done. The question is does Kmart want to be part of it? The Nuggets have now won four straight including the first back-to-back road victories of the year. Make it five by shutting down the red hot Paul Pierce in Boston. One game at a time, Nuggies, one game at a time.