Sunday, April 8, 2007

LK Lifts Nuggets to Victory

(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
(Boulder-CO) It was a game of runs that seemingly would have appeared to leave the Nuggets on the short end of the stick as they were down by eight, 74-66, after three quarters of play. Enter Allen Iverson and Linas Kleiza. I’m not going to spoil the surprise quite yet, but these two Nuggets were the reason that Denver leaves L.A. in the sixth playoff seed, and with the victory, 96-93.

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!

4 comments:

ThaAnswer said...

Keep it up Nuggets!! Perfect time to get our game rollin

Jason said...

What a great win this was. They literally willed their way to victory, and it is about time that Allen Iverson did his thing.

I think your assessment that AI is the leader of this team is ridiculous! Just because Iverson FINALLY has a good scoring/shooting game does not all of a sudden make him the leader. I have been real disappointed with AI's lack of ability to score lately, and he finally stepped up in this game. Melo has done what AI did tonight all year long, and in years past. Thus making Melo the true leader of this team.

Oh, and by the way - the team DID go to Melo with the game on the line, and Melo delivered with a great pass to Kleiza (trusting his teammate after a few games ago Kleiza missed that same shot for victory).

Not bashing AI (or you), I just respectfully disagree.

But a great win!

Nugg Doctor said...

Hi Jason,

I did say, "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!," giving Melo credit for the dish. I was just happy he didnt force up a bad shot and like you said, trusted his teammate.

Go Nuggets.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Stumbleweed said...

I dunno -- it seems to me that AI has the veteran experience, the swagger, the ability, and the heart to be the team leader. I can't really say all of that about Melo, as much as I love the guy. Melo can be that guy in a few years, but I really do think the reason that this team has faltered in the playoffs, etc. is because we didn't have a true leader (we had veterans and a star, but not a combination of both like we have now in AI).

Melo is our leading scorer, not the leader of the team. The team in some sense is Melo's team, but that's because he's the future and face of the franchise, not because he's actually leading the team in any meaningful way. Although he's hit some big last-second shots, etc., you just don't see the same kind of world-crushing will to win in Melo that you can see plainly in AI. I'm confident that Melo will develop into the real leader of this team (probably when AI retires/leaves), but he's not ready for that role at this point, I don't think.

I also wanted to say that I think AI will be the difference in the Playoffs... Where Melo got shut down and frustrated last year, AI will thrive. Just a feeling that I have -- AI is made for the playoffs and other big games.

Oh, I hope te Lakers win out so we can get the 8th seed back and have that dream series with Phoenix. Forget all the shit I said earlier in the year about wanting San Antonio -- the prospect of a 7-game series with Phoenix trumps any feelings I have about our chances against the Spurs. Seriously, can you think of any series that would be more fun to watch? Highlight-city.

(this is Stumbleweed, by the way -- not sure if it'll show up right)