From this point on I am of the opinion that a win is a win. The Nuggets flat out need wins. If Denver plays like crap and wins, I am going to be OK with that. At this point in the season there are no moral victories or style points for a loss and conversely I am not going to take away style points for an ugly win. I will still make note of their short comings, but if they put another tick under the win column that is all I care about.
Based on that criteria, I am pretty pleased with the win last night in New Jersey.
The biggest development of the game was the reappearance of Linas Kleiza. Rumors that Stan Kronke was instructing local area Wal Mart’s to put up pictures of LK by their entrances with the hope that someone would locate his lost game proved to be unfounded, but saying the Nuggets were worried about Kleiza’s lack of production since before the trade deadline is an understatement. With his eleven rebound performance in Philly and his offensive explosion in New Jersey the Nuggets may see the return of a key part of their roster for the sprint to the finish.
J.R. Smith also provided a nice boost of the bench, especially in the third quarter where the Nuggets saw New Jersey quickly eliminate a 17 point deficit and take the lead for a brief moment. The most encouraging aspect of J.R.’s performance was he only took two threes in 17 minutes. He was incredibly aggressive and did a tremendous job of driving and finishing or dishing resulting in a season high six assists, just one off of his career high.
The Nuggets did play horrendously poor ball over the last few minutes of the third quarter, but the silver lining to that cloud is they did show some resiliency bouncing back and getting their act together on the road.
In lieu of the other observations I will just say this. I was very impressed with the fire that Vince Carter played with. He has certainly decided that it is up to him to make sure this team makes the playoffs and he is doing all he can to get them there. Many observers expected VC to go into Toronto Tank Mode after the Kidd trade, but he has welcomed the challenge.
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