With as little as 4:30 remaining in the fourth quarter the Nuggets’ lead was as large as twenty points thanks to a trio of great performances. Linas Kleiza was the third musketeer to Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony. LK recorded a career-high 24 points and eight rebounds including 4-7 from long distance. Allen Iverson equaled Kleiza’s point total and added seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. And with the addition of Carmelo’s team-high 29 points and six boards the Nuggets simply had firepower than the Kings.
The Nuggets can also say that the winless streak is over in Arco Arena. As I included in my preview, the Nuggets were 0-20 at Sacramento dating back to 1997, and can now finally get the monkey off their back. Ding-dong the witch is dead. Hallelujah and Amen.
The most important aspect of this win is that it keeps the Kings from locking up the tie-breaker over the Nuggets in the event that the two teams finish with identical records at the conclusion of the regular season. The fourth and decisive game will be played at Pepsi Center on April 4th, where the Nuggets will need to win to assume control over the tie-breaker as the two teams are now dead even in point differential in this season‘s match-ups. This win also holds the Clippers at bay in the eighth playoff position, while the Hornets, T-Wolves, and Kings will have to remain outsiders looking in.
Up next for the Nuggets is a three-game home stand that starts Tuesday against the Portland Trailblazers and includes the Lakers, (currently seeded sixth), on Thursday, and Suns on Saturday. The Nuggets have only one more loss than the Lakers, who will be playing the Mavericks later this evening, and still could conceivably snatch the sixth seed with some consecutive wins to close out the season. Just remember, Nuggets Nation, it’s been a wild ride all year long and anything could still happen. Go Nuggets!