After a less than stellar first quarter the Nuggets woke up and dominated the Golden State Warriors in the second and third quarters to breeze to a 135-107 victory. Scoring in the paint, rebouding and sharing the ball all played major roles in the Nuggets earning their 13th win of the young season.
With the Warriors coming to town I was able to grab a nosebleed ticket to the game with my boy Rory and watch what I expected to be a high-scoring affair live. What I didn't anticipate was watching most of the game from the concourse in the Tuaca Chill Zone. Sneaking down to better seats at the Pepsi Center is a fairly difficult task ... even in the later stages of the game, but ending up in a luxury box - totally worth it.
The funny thing about watching the games live without stats readily available is you get the sense that a team is dominating in certain areas and when you see the actual numbers ... sometimes they are even more impressive. The key areas where I felt Denver was having success: scoring inside, rebounding (both ends) and assists ... numbers didn't lie.
The Nuggets outscored the Warriors in the paint 62-48, out-rebounded the Warriors 57-33 (18-10 on the offensive glass) and out-assisted the Warriors 30-15.
The most impressive numbers and the most impressive aspect of watching the game was the rebounding advantage. Denver was scoring on putbacks and earning extra possessions by putting in a little extra effort on the offensive glass. Consider ... out of the possible 41 offensive rebound opportunities the Nuggets were able to snag 18 of them or 43.9% of them. These numbers should not be a surprise as the Warriors are a very undersized team, but I applaud the effort and would like to see more of it going forward.
Another thing that I liked about tonight's game was that Denver seemed to recognize that jump shooting and shooting from three-point land was not the way to win against the Warriors. The Nuggets went just 3-14 from deep (21.4%), but limited their attempts and started taking the ball to the rack in a major way towards the end of the first quarter and throughout the rest of the game.
It was nice to see some alley-oops put down by K-Mart and Birdman and the home crowd ate it up as well. The Warriors did challenge some of Denver's attempts to drive the lane, but that didn't disuade the Nuggets and after they started finding some success they started to like it and went back for more as the entire team started getting in on the act.
The Warriors couldn't really stop anything Denver was doing because the Nuggets attack was a balanced one with seven players scoring in double figures. Ty Lawson had his jumper working early and knocked down a three, a long jumper, a runner in the lay after being inserted in the game. On the night the rookie was 5-7 from the floor and scored 13 points ... sort of a bounce back game for Lawson in the scoring department as he hadn't posted double figures since the Clippers game on Nov. 20th.
Chris Andersen continues to look better as he posted 14 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks in 21 minutes. In Maya Starks' postgame interview with the Bird he said he is finally feeling healthy and credited Steve Hess and Co. for getting his wings flapping again (or rather his knee feeling better).
I feel like the Nuggets did just about everything that I wanted them to do tonight ... they even turned the Warriors into a jump shooting team for long stretches of the game. While this was a nice win to right the ship, until the team can put together some consistent efforts over an extended period of time ... doubters will remain skeptical as the see-saw games continue.
Views you can use:
- Denver improved to 18-1 when teams travel for the second game of a back-to-back from the pacific time zone to the thin Colorado air (though I need to figure out the time period of this stat...)
- Vladimir Radmanovic is not "washed up" as I called him in my preview, but he isn't the same dead-eye shooter either. Rad-Man put up 17 points on 7-14 shooting (1-5 from downtown)
- The night after going for 45 points against the Pacers, Monta Ellis was held to just 15 points by Arron Afflalo and the rest of the Nuggets
Call of the night from the comments section:
- At 8:34 p.m. (mtn.) reader river-z predicted the Nuggets would score 135 points ... nice call!
Photo courtesy of AP Photos: David Zalubowski