Tonight’s game was a coming out party of sorts for a couple of familiar faces on the Denver Nuggets. Reggie Evans must have sighed a sigh of major relief when Karl finally pointed in his direction. The Nuggets power forward gave a solid contribution off the bench with seven points and seven rebounds. DerMarr Johnson also saw his first action of the season. After spending a couple games on the inactive list, DerMarr lifted the Nuggets with two three-pointers and steal in addition to doing yet another quality job defending the league’s most potent scorer, Allen Iverson.
From the backcourt Denver saw both good and bad things out of their guards. Andre Miller and J.R. Smith are starting to gel, but it is the “mighty-micro” Earl Boykins that may need to rethink his role on this team. Andre looked great scoring 18 points and creating eight assists and J.R. Smith was 3 of 6 from downtown finishing with 16 points total. Earl Boykins on the other hand was less than stellar and most of his problem is self-induced. Boykins is a little bit too quick with the trigger in situations where good scoring opportunities need a chance to develop. Tonight he was 2 for 10 and many of the misses were off forced fast breaks where he pulled up with no one there to rebound and found himself not able to find the bottom of the net. If Earl would just wait for his teammates, look for secondary options trailing the break, and then wait for the ball to come back him the Nuggets would be much better off.
Overall this game felt very mechanical. Melo scored ten of the last 14 points to ice the win for the Nuggets and when George Karl was asked about the role he played, Coach had this to offer, “That's what he does. He gets a lot of money to do it”.
No longer being the only winless team in the league is a good feeling. The Nuggets will now face the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday in their second stop on this east coast road trip. They will then have one day of rest before back-to-back games with the Heat and the Magic. Having the giant monkey off their back is a start.