Here is how the role players played out in tonight’s, 100-77, Nugget victory.
The Denver Nuggets had five players step-up and give them double figures in points. The top contributor was Reggie Evans who scored 19 points and snatched 20 rebounds in his best game of the season by far. J.R. Smith and Linas Kleiza each scored 17, Steve Blake added 12 points and eight assists, and Yakhouba Diawara chipped in an even dozen. And at one point in the game, pun intended, the Nuggets were out in front by 27 before coasting to their 45th win to close out the 2006-07 season.
The Spurs on the other hand didn’t get the same kind of numbers from their bench players who saw significant time in tonight‘s contest. Beno Udrih scored a team-high 13 points, but Michael Finley, Robert Horry, and Brent Barry were all held to less than ten in the scoring column. What this tells me is that the Spurs could potentially find themselves in trouble with the Nuggets if their big names are not able to put up big numbers because their bench players are not able to put up enough in the scoring column to pick up the slack.
What will be critical in the upcoming series will be putting Greg Popovich in a position to play his second tier due foul trouble, fast-tempo, and tough defensive match-ups because what I think the Nuggets lack in experience and discipline they make up with bench scoring.
With their 45th win of the season the Nuggets have improved by one win over last year’s mark. With all the trades, the long suspensions served for the, “Little Grapple in the Big Apple”, and injuries I think that the Nuggets have come a long way since last season around this time. Granted the post-season road to hoe is looking a lot tougher this season than last, but I feel this team has been able to overcome a lot of adversity this year and wouldn’t be surprised if they give San Antonio more of a run for their money than they gave the Clippers in last year’s playoffs.
And as soon as the playoff schedule is released you can rest assured that I will be posting analytical game previews, recaps, and everything else in between concerning the Denver Nuggets and their 2007 playoff run.