Saturday, April 1, 2006

Late Signs of Life in Nuggets Win

(FortCollins-CO) The Denver Nuggets found themselves down by one going into the fourth quarter of Friday night's against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In a desperately needed sign of life, the Northwest Division leaders must have been motivated by something cosmic. Did they look each other in the eye and ask why they have been playing so poorly? Was there a divine intervention? Is this what is going to set the pace for a playoff run? Whatever caused the fourth quarter outburst and what materializes out of it is still undetermined, but the short term result was a blown out Minnesota team in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets won 106-94, but believe me it wasn’t as lopsided as it appears.

I’m going to speculate that the Nuggets finally realized that there was no reason to feel sorry for themselves. They are one of the best teams in the league and needed to start acting like it. They came out against a team that isn’t even of their caliber and toyed with their prey like I do with some over-cooked okra. The question that is looming over the Nuggets right now is clear. That question is, “Are you guys for real or are you just capable of flashes of greatness?”

After playing down to the Timberwolves level for three consecutive quarters the Nuggets reverted back to the Nuggets we were used to seeing on that franchise record setting road trip. Carmelo Anthony put up 32 and five rebounds. Kenyon Martin made his presence felt by tossing in eleven points, six boards, and two blocks. Marcus Camby only scored four points, but did rub out three shots and corralled eleven rebounds.

The most inspired play was that of Reggie Evans. Evans came of the bench and gave the Nuggets an incredible lift be giving a seven-eleven effort (points and rebounds), an uncountable number of hustle points, and defensive stands.

If there was one clear moment that can be pointed to that sparked the Nuggets out of their funk. It was Rueben Patterson stepping up in Minnesota guard Rashad McCants’s face and drawing the line in the sand. Rueben would be ejected from the game, but his stance was contagious. The Nuggets were done playing down to the level of the T-Wolves and were all about the business of closing the deal. Hopefully this new chippy attitude will carry over to Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.

To beat Dallas, and to start a new game prediction streak, the Nuggets are going to have to walk into their gym and figuratively punch them in the mouth early. Dallas can score at a breakneck pace and the only way to slow that down is setting the defensive intensity early. I’m not saying that the Nuggets need to resort to any type of goonery or flagrant tactics, but the defensive agenda has to be their. On a nationally televised, Sunday afternoon game its time that the Nuggets let the league see that they are for real. I’m predicting a victory, my faith is unwavering, and the Nugget integrity is strong. You stop Dirk Nowitzki and you win. A tall order I know, but not outside the Nuggets capabilities.

1 comment:

nanananana said...

The excitement of the nugg's inconsistant play sounds diminished within. The rally needs to begin immediately and they should step up to the plate. Would like to see them win.