It was a tough first half that concluded with the Nuggets down 56-49 after a second quarter falter on both ends of the court. In that quarter the Nuggets scored only 18 points while allowing the Portland Trailblazers to score 37 points. I was about to bang my head against the wall till concussion, but decided to not flip out as sometimes I deem appropriate. Yes, Nuggets Nation, I am quite a passionate Nuggets fan and I am not afraid to admit it.
Thankfully, I was totally conscious for the second half because a totally different Nuggets ball club showed up to play in the third quarter. Denver erupted for 41 points while tightening down a vice-like grip on the defensive end. Portland only managed to score 37 points in the entire second half and Denver easily rolled to a much needed win. And this win couldn’t have come at a better time. Carmelo is set to return in two more games and then the rest of the NBA can be put on notice. The memo is simple. It says: Don’t sleep on the Denver Nuggets because now that they are at full-strength. They are going to be able to not only beat you, but will now be able to embarrass any team in the league if they do not take them seriously!
The offensive continuity was definitely there tonight for the Nuggets. Allen Iverson torched the Blazers for 33 points, many in circus fashion, nine assists, and three rebounds. I already told you about Steve Blake, but I didn’t tell you about J.R. Smith scoring 13 points in a better showing than his first game back. Nor did I tell you about Marcus Camby rejecting two shots, ripping down 14 rebounds, coming up with a steal, and scoring seven points in a dominating defensive effort.
Reggie Evans didn’t have the most impressive game statistically speaking, but he did do a tremendous job, with help, of slowing down Zach Randolph to a near stand-still. Z-Ran only scored four points in 22 minutes of play and was 1-12 from the field thanks in part directly to Reggie Evans. I love the future line-up of Blake, Iverson, ‘Melo, Evans, and Camby because it allows George Karl to bring J.R.’s scoring abilities off the bench while also having the availability of the defensive minded Diawara if the situation calls for some defensive support.
Denver now only has to wait till after they play Cleveland and Houston before they get their true franchise face back. If there is any team in the league that I feel bad for it is without a doubt the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies will have to suit up in the Pepsi Center to what will without question be a packed house to see Carmelo and Allen Iverson make their debut as a tandem. As juiced as Denver will be is one thing. As juiced as Denver will get when Carmelo throws down his first dunk will be another. Be afraid, NBA. Be very afraid!