The Denver Nuggets played a tremendous first half and were in the driver seat going into the halftime, 61-47. The defensive agenda was being accomplished, offensive transition was abundant, and bench support was all in effect for the Nuggets in the first 24 minutes. Luckily, the Nuggets had the lead they did because they were flat outplayed in the second half. Indiana came back out for the third quarter and trumped the Nuggets 27-21. The fourth saw more of the Nuggets going stagnate on offense. Indiana started controlling transition and was getting better looks at the basket than the Nuggets. By the time that there was only 18 seconds left in the game, the Nuggets found themselves tied, and with a chance to win or go to overtime in a worst case scenario…
It was no secret to anyone in Canseco Field House that Carmelo Anthony was going to be the man that the Nuggets needed to bail them out. So with Andre Miller holding the ball until eight seconds and ticking, the ball went into Anthony on the right wing. A couple of jab steps, a two handed clear, and a few dribbles foreshadowed ‘Melo pulling up and draining a seventeen footer to put the Nuggets up 101-99. With two seconds, the last chance catch and shoot by Peja rimmed out and the Nugget’s superstar concluded his seventh game winner in 12 career attempts, and the night, with 31 points.
He wasn’t alone tonight by any means. Marcus Camby continues to be an all purpose contributor for the Nuggets. Camby would finish the game with ten points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks, and three assists. He was helped out by Reggie Evans gladly pitching in seven points and nine rebounds, just missing his own double double. Mr. Reliable AKA Andre Miller was also instrumental with 21 points (including numerous strong drives to the rack), nine assists, three steals, and six rebounds.
If the Nuggets would have just played both halves they wouldn’t have had to be in this position, but there were things learned and positives established in this game. For starters, the Nuggets pulled out a clutch win on the road against a good Pacer squad. This win could very well have shown this team that they have what it takes to finish close games. The Nuggets also know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Anthony is absolutely capable of cashing the big shot. What needs to be learned from this game is, that while they got the win, playing sporadically in the playoffs isn’t going to cut it. The playoff intensity alone will seal the death of the Nuggets if they don’t play four quarters.
So at 4-1 and with two more games on this road trip the Nuggets are prime to over achieve what I predicted was going to be a 5-2 record on this seven game voyage. They can ill-afford to overlook Memphis or the Hornets. Memphis will be looking for payback and the Hornets are a team that can straight up compete. One more back-to-back weekend gentlemen, then its home sweet home. The city of Denver should be buzzing by the time you return because the playoffs are right around the corner and you guys are looking promising. Good win Nuggets, now battle tough Friday night.