First things first, Marcus Camby was part of a fiasco that broke out with two minutes remaining in the first quarter that finished with Andre Miller being teched and the Camby-man being thrown out. I have seen chairs being thrown onto the court ala Bobby Knight, television monitors tossed out on the wood ala Tim Hardaway (in a Denver uniform might I add), but never have I ever seen a player thrown out for knocking over a tub of cough drops that incidentally ended up on the floor. Anyways, I digress because I don’t think Marcus did it on purpose, but rather just knocked the drops with the swing of his arm on his way to the bench.
In the first quarter the game was paced at near breakneck speed and both teams scored more than thirty points after the debacle was sorted out. At this point the game was close, but it would be the last time that the Heat would be any threat to the Nuggets. J.R. Smith was getting ready to ignite in a fashion that was simply awe-inspiring to say the least.
In the second period, J.R. lit the scoreboard up at a dizzying pace. Smith hit five three-pointers in the quarter and added a jumper in the corner as he and the Nuggets scored 39 points! He hit seven threes in the half and tied a Nuggets franchise record for long balls in one half of play. The Nuggets went into halftime with an 18 point lead and were red-hot. Carmelo had 20 points in the first half and everyone was doing their part in shutting down the Heat.
In the third quarter, the Heat rallied to cut the lead down to eleven, but the Nuggets were just too smart to let them back into the game. Maybe this team is learning from its mistakes, but they tightened down the defensive screws and held off a surging NBA team and knew when to put the nail in the coffin. The fourth quarter was defensively stifling and the Heat comeback was deflated by the Nuggets only giving up 16 points in the last twelve minutes.
Yakhouba Diawara deserves some mention for his efforts defending Dwayne Wade. The Nuggets defensive specialist made life hard for Wade by drawing offensive fouls, denying him the ball, and contesting jump shots all night long. Wade did finish with 21 points and 14 assists, but the 21 is well below his average and the assists indicate that he and the Nuggets made other people try and beat them. This was exactly what I prescribed in my preview of the game and it proved to be sound advice. Props to the Yak, and the rest of the Nuggets, for doing a solid job on one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the league. Yakhouba finished with five points, two assists, two steals, and four rebounds.
It would be hard to not give the offensive player of the game to J.R. Smith, but if there was close runner-up it would have to be Andre Miller. ‘Dre tied Steve Nash’s league season-high assist total of 20 in the game by dishing early and often. Miller finished with five points, five rebounds, two blocks, and the 20 dimes! He was simply amazing distributing the ball to all the Nuggets offensive weapons.
And what would a Nuggets game recap be without a peek at what the NBA’s leading scorer’s final stat line? Carmelo Anthony quietly had 32 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and a blocked shot in 34 minutes of action. I like how ‘Melo can still be a dominant force even if he is not the star of the game because it shows how effective he can be sometimes without all the lime. He also moved into the 11th All-Time franchise scoring position by passing Reggie Williams.
J.R. Smith on the other hand was the game’s high scorer. Smith finished the contest with 37 points (a career high) on 12-18 from the field, including 7-9 from downtown, four rebounds, and an assist. The dynamic duo combined for 69 total points and continues to leave teams scorched by their offensive combination. What is nice to see is that the two love playing with each other. When J.R. was soaking wet in the second quarter, ‘Melo was the biggest cheerleader on the bench. And when it was time for the alley-oops-upside-your-head in the second half, Anthony threw the lob and J.R. slammed it home!
There is no time to rest on this great victory because the Nuggets face-off with the dangerous Dallas Mavericks in a match-up with two of the Western Conference’s heavy weights tonight at 8:30. The Nuggets are 11-6 on the year, while Dallas despite starting slow has been streaking wins together as of late. Get your cowboy hat ready. The Nuggets are in the lone star state tonight.