The first 24 minutes of this basketball game were completely dominated by the Denver Nuggets. Denver played their best defense against the NBA’s best offense and I almost had to be pinched to make sure it wasn’t a dream. The offense was explosive. So explosive in fact that the Nuggets were enjoying a, 70-44, lead at halftime and the Pespi Center stood in ovation. Denver deserved every second of it too after shooting 68% from the field while limiting the Suns to barely 33% shooting.
Allen Iverson absolutely upstaged Steve Nash who struggled as the Nuggets twisted down the defensive bolts. Nash would finish with 15 points and ten assists, but his effort would cower in comparison to AI’s final line. The Answer posted a game-high 44 points while serving 15 dimes and grabbing five boards. With tonight’s performance AI became the first player since Kevin Johnson in 1994 to finish with 40 or more points and 15 assists.
Carmelo Anthony was also outstanding. ‘Melo finished tonight’s game with 29 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 33 minutes of action. He played respectable defense and settled a little bit of a score with Shawn Marion for remarks made during the All-Star break by the X-Factor. On numerous different occasions Carmelo made special note to take the ball right at Shawn Marion in an attempt to make the fellow All-Star eat his sentiments.
The list of sold contributors is long so here is the skinny: Camby went for 12 points, four blocks, and eight boards, Nene had 14 points and ten rebounds, J.R. Smith hit for ten points and three assists, which included a sweet behind the back look to Nene for the easy deuce, and Steve Blake was once again economical with five points and eight assists while only surrendering three turnovers.
Defensively the Nuggets held the Suns to 44% shooting with only 26 assists on their 40 made baskets. The Nuggets also forced 21 turnovers and capitalized for a cool 30 points on said miscues and out-rebounded the Suns 47-38 while collectively passing out nine more assists.
I mentioned before that this is the probably the best overall game I have seen the Nuggets play in the last three years. This win sticks out for a couple different reasons. First and foremost the Nuggets played four quarters of solid defense. No third quarter collapses, little if any problems in rotation defending the pick and roll and to do it against the offensive minded Suns makes it just that much sweeter. Offensively the Nuggets were on fire. A smorgasbord of fast break opportunities led to confidence for all those involved and the Nuggets finished a blistering 57% from the field and 35% from downtown. What's even more is how a first quarter doule-digit lead became, at one point, a 40-point drumming without the Nuggets even thinking twice about it! The Suns did regains some respect in the fourth quarter, but it came against the Nuggets' reserves and the 24-point win speaks for itself.
Up next for the Nuggets is a little bit of well deserved rest and recuperation before embarking on an East coast road trip that includes match-ups with the first, second, fourth and fifth playoff seeded teams. The Nuggets are now 33-31 overall and have been winners of seven out of their last eleven games.
Here’s to hoping that Denver is still climbing to its pinnacle because this win was simple electrifying. Go Nuggets!