The biggest difference from this game in comparison to the last time the Clippers and Nuggets clashed was the production from the Denver bench. In the loss on November 21st, the Nuggets only received 19 points in scoring support from their reserves. In the win last night, the Nuggets got a much needed boost from a bench that had been struggling to contribute offensively to the tune of 50 big points! Led by J.R. Smith’s 22 points stemming from 6-9 from long range, the Nuggets had five other reserves chip in with Eduardo leading the rebounding charge with six big boards and numerous other heady-Eddie hustle plays.
Another great statistic to look at in comparing the two times these teams have met this year is the wide margin of difference in the cumulative assist totals. In the loss, the Nuggets only finished with 16 assists overall with Allen Iverson having the majority with nine dimes. In the win, the Nuggets shared the ball much better collectively and finished with almost double (31) the amount from the loss and were paced by Anthony Carter’s ten dimes with Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony recording seven and six assists, respectively. And because of the sharing, Allen Iverson finished with a game-high 26 points, Carmelo Anthony finished with 24, and the Nuggets shot a collective 54% from the field.
Denver also slashed the number of offensive rebounds from meeting one (12) by half in meeting two (6) and the transition game was the direct beneficiary. Proving once again that to be a winning, fast breaking team in today’s NBA you must limit your opponent to one shot. It is the only way to dictate the tempo of the game in your favor and the Nuggets did just that as the Clippers shot only 46% on only 79 attempts from the field.
Talk about a team with two faces and a story with two tales! Now the story line to follow becomes the consistency the Nuggets need to protract to ensure more victories like this one. And next on the schedule for the 10-7 Nuggets are the struggling 4-11 Miami Heat on Sunday in the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets are now 7-2 at home while the Heat come into the thin, cold air of Denver just 2-5 on the road.