The Nuggets were led by outstanding performances by Nene and Kenyon Martin. Nene played inspired basketball and finished with 14 points and twelve rebounds on 4-7 shooting. K-Mart was the leading Nuggets scorer with 19 points and added four rebounds and a block. When all was said and done, the well-calibrated Nuggets finished with seven players in double digits with Earl Boykins leading all non-starters with 17 points and seven assists.
Other areas of the game that deserve to be mentioned for the Nuggets were the limitation of total team turnovers and the improvement from three-point land. Denver only turned the ball over eleven times in the duration of the game, compared to the 17 by Detroit, and was moving the ball quite effectively. The Nuggets also combined for 28 assists illustrating that not only was the right pass made at the right time, but that guys were also ready to finish the play.
The three-point arch may also be an area where the Nuggets may have mended some fences. The long distance marksmen for the Nuggets were a combined 10-25, 40%, from downtown with J.R. Smith (3-7) and the Yak (2-5) leading the way. Some folks have been very critical of the decisions the Nuggets have made regarding the shooting guard position, but looking at the personnel that they had last year. And comparing them to the guys they have added leaves me no choice but to respectfully disagree with the nay-sayers.
The backcourt players the Nuggets lost this off-season in Greg Buckner and Ruben Patterson are soon going to be a distant memory. When Nuggets fans see what Diawara and Smith bring to the table and understand the potential that they possess. Denver fans are going to seem like Tina Turner and Barry White. Singing a different tune!