Earl Boykins paced the Nuggets with 26 points and 11 assists in what could be argued was his best performance of the season. He played 41 minutes, was perfect from the free-throw line, and only turned the rock over three times while snagging four boards. He timely makes me look like a blundering fool for thinking that a trade would be wise, but I can swallow my pride for a Nuggets win any day! If a trade happens, so be it, that’s business, but Denver is sure to be pro-Earl in the days to come after such a dynamite performance.
And another dynamite performance was given from Allen Iverson. AI scored 23 points, stole two balls, dished three dimes, and grabbed two boards in a quiet but efficient outing. Not to be outdone by the little guys was Marcus Camby. Marcus rejected seven shots, grabbed 15 rebounds, five on the offensive glass, and scored 19 big points.
Reggie Evans also managed to keep Marcus and Earl company in the double-double club with 13 points and 11 rebounds in 28 quick minutes of PT. Linas, although he just missed the double-double club, was also a big contributor with 11 points and nine boards that included three, three-pointers.
The Nuggets won tonight because they played with superior energy. The Bucks didn’t shoot the ball well in any offensive category, but in my assessment it was the energy that coasted the Nuggets to victory. When you essentially have your bench and some new guy named AI starting for you it is reassuring to see them come up so huge in the scoring column. Not only because of the 82 points scored tonight, but because the confidence that the second crew gains from a win like this can resonate and be a real foundation for some much needed swagger from guys that will not be seeing as much floor time when things return to normal. With said swagger they will be more adept to coming into the game when called upon and playing at a level that they would have been previously not aware of. They will remember this win and the way that it felt and that feeling will stick with them for the remainder of the season.
The painful and arduous return to normalcy is going to take form on Wednesday when the Nuggets take on the Spurs with J.R. back in action. It seems like the grapple in the apple happened ages ago, but when you see J.R. back on the floor this time it will almost seem like the first time all over again. Will a win materialize for Denver against such a formidable foe? Crazier things have happened, as in the Nuggets beating the 1995-96 Bulls who ended up finishing 72-10, but it will certainly be nice to see one of the pieces of the Nuggets puzzle back in action. Lord knows it has certainly felt like an eternity since feelings hardened at the Garden! Go Nuggets!