The Clippers had a lead as large as 15 points at one juncture of this game, but the Nuggets once again refused to waive the white flag of surrender. Denver essentially had to play the entire game from behind because in every quarter, except the fourth, the Clip-show out-scored the Nuggets. And in a game where no Nugget player recorded a double-double, there was still some gargantuan showings of resolve to snatch this win from the Clippers.
When the box score is broken down you have to start with the absolutely inspiring performance by Allen Iverson. AI scored 17 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter and literally willed the Nuggets to victory. He would not be denied and added four rebounds, four assists, and a steal. With a performance like tonight’s, Allen Iverson proved to me tonight that he is the leader of this team (sorry, Carmelo).
But Carmelo was no slouch either!
‘Melo finished tonight’s game with 23 points, six boards, five assists, two steals, and a block, but when the Nuggets were in search of the game-winning shot the ball didn’t go in Anthony’s direction.
Instead of forcing up a bad shot with only 18 seconds remaining and with defenders swooping from every direction, Anthony dished a quick pass out to Linas Kleiza. LK was camped out on the three-point line, conveniently located in the corner of the gym, and was ready to put the Clippers to sleep. Down by two, 93-91, Linas let fly and after the ball dropped through the net the Nuggets were up by one and for good! Linas Kleiza, the savior!
AI would also add two more free-throws for good measure after stealing the ball from Corey Maggette in the final six seconds to put the game on ice. These five points were the only five unanswered points of the contest for the Nuggets in what was in my opinion the most hard fought game of the season up to this point.
The Nuggets are now winners of five-straight games and hold the current longest winning streak in the NBA. They also currently hold the six seed in the Western Conference playoff picture because this win ties the Nuggets with the Lakers in overall record and of whom they will match-up with on Monday night at Pepsi Center. And thanks to LK, I am back to .500 in my final ten game predictions at a modest 2-2. Go Nuggets! I think I’m coming down with a touch of playoff fever!