The Denver Nuggets shouldn’t have had to take this game to overtime. With a lackadaisical stretch in the fourth quarter that lasted almost seven minutes. The Nuggets could only notch thirteen points. Four Nuggets scored in double figures, including Kenyon Martin coming off the bench and finishing with 18 points and nine boards. Carmelo led all scorers with 30 points and squeezing eight rebounds along the way. Imperative to the Nuggets with Greg Buckner not playing due to a hyper-extended knee was the play of DerMarr Johnson. DerMarr has been a spotty in off and on playing stints, but was a big time contributor tonight with 17 points. The only Nugget to record a double-double was Andre Miller with game high 13 assists and 19 points.
There was so much positive in this game that it was hard to believe that it took overtime to get this road victory. I like the decision to take Kenyon Martin off the bench. He provides a huge lift with his energy and rebounding. With Carmelo scoring basically at will, the other players have to take up the slack and do the intangible things, the details if you will, that get W’s instead of L’s. DerMarr contributing solid offense, Miller efficiently distributing the ball, and Camby blocking three shots all are things that can facilitate praise. Now the key will be eliminating the four to seven minute stretches of uninspired play. If this goal can be achieved the Nuggets have all the components to be a serious contender come post season.
The trade that was made has already had a positive effect on the Nuggets. How you might ask? Even without any of the new players acquired in uniform for the game, Rueben Patterson was extremely candid on the bench. He was seen encouraging Carmelo, meshing with Earl Boykins, and cheering on both his Cincinnati alumni. Patterson seems to be happy here and adjusting quickly. All of these are positives that can be built upon as soon as Patterson is on the floor.
The Nuggets have now won two straight and are looking forward to Milwaukee at home on Monday. They should win three of the next four games. Playing Milwaukee at home, and then having to host the Detroit Pistons makes it imperative that they take care of business against the Bucks. Winning three out of the next four is more than possible and can hopefully ignite this second half of the season.