In the first quarter, I thought for sure it was going to be a long night. The first offensive possession fruited one pass and an 18-foot, semi-crooked, jumper from Marcus Camby. The Nuggets turned the ball over five times and if it weren’t for AI hitting twine for nine first quarter points the Nuggets would have definitely finished with a lot less than 31 points. There was porous defense in the first quarter too. A couple of slow rotations by Denver led to fouls, a couple of dunks, and a handful of free-throws that the Nuggets should have been able to stop. I digress, it’s not a perfect world, and this is the NBA.
Another reason why Allen Iverson’s hot start was important to the Nuggets was it gave Denver back that electric feeling. The Nuggets were playing lukewarm basketball in their three straight losses without the electric feeling of someone turning up their game a notch. And in this case, the charge flowed through six other Nuggets as Denver recorded a total of seven players in double-digits, the most points scored in a NBA game this season, two double-doubles , and a new franchise record in a field goal percentage making 59 of 88 shot attempts good for 67%. The Nuggets also scored 30+ points in all four quarters while only allowing Seattle to score 30+ in one.
I’ll warn you… the box score is gaudy. AI led all scorers with 31 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Kenyon Martin connected on 11-14 from the field good for 23 points and seven rebounds. Linas Kleiza returned to familiar form with 15 points, three assists, three rebounds, and two steals. J.R. Smith continues to put up a stat line. He scored 15 points on 3-5 from downtown. Carmelo was visibly frustrated with the officiating, but still managed to score 16 points and grab six rebounds in only 30 minutes of play. Marcus Camby was well-rounded with twelve points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks. And AC rounded out the fold with a double-dozen of twelve points and twelve rebounds.
I liked this game because it was a win, but it also reminded the Nuggets how to win. They weren’t playing a great team, but they took care of business and did so in high fashion. The Nuggets need to take the good, leave the bad, and make sure that they bring their game against the Clippers to ensure back-to-back wins.