I didn’t like anything about the first half. So, because Denver has weathered the storm of this five-game Eastern Conference road trip by concluding 3-2 we just aren’t going to talk about it. Imagine all of my typical rants, but dismiss them because Denver is now only half a game behind the Golden State Warriors (thanks, Kobe!) for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference and only a game and a half behind the Mavericks, who unfortunately, are now without Dirk Nowitzki for what looks like the remainder of the regular season.
The Nuggets in the second half were a completely different story. I especially liked the defensive turn around the Nuggets displayed, but in the end J.R. Smith stole the show.
Allen Iverson scored his 26 points and ‘Melo chipped in 23, but J.R. Smith’s 25 points in the fourth quarter and 27 points overall were spectacular. “The Prodigy” was even hitting three’s from a couple of steps behind the arch, without conscious, finishing with seven bombs in the quarter!
Marcus Camby’s defensive effort was just as instrumental in this win as J.R. Smith’s take over. Camby anchored the D with seven blocks and 14 of his 15 rebounds coming on the defensive end. Kenyon Martin’s play also remains solid. K-Mart finished last night’s game with a double-double of 14 points and ten rebounds off an efficient 7-8 from the field while also swatting two shots.
Denver is right back into the thick of this playoff chase and nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, would make me happier than to look like the fool if the Nuggets can slide into the eighth, or even (gasp) the seventh seed! Denver’s best opportunity to do so is in the next five days as their next game is against the Dirk-less Mavericks at home on Thursday night (I’ll be at the game if anyone wants to grab a beer at halftime). Then the Nuggets will potentially have a chance to move right into that seventh spot when the Golden State Warriors come to town in the first of two remaining match-ups.