The first overtime game of the season for the Denver Nuggets featured a career high 25 points for Evan Fournier but it still ended in disappointment as the Phoenix Suns complete the four game series sweep with a 112-107 victory. Fournier wasn't the only player setting milestones. Gerald Green scored a career best 36 points as he kept the Suns within striking distance during a fourth quarter just as it felt Denver was ready to pull away.
Denver led by five with less than a minute to play, but the Nuggets inability to body up opponents on the defensive glass lead to second chance points for Phoenix. The Suns final two possessions of regulation resulted in multiple offensive rebounds. Fournier missed an opportunity on a drive to the hoop and as time expired during an intricately designed inbound pass, Wilson Chandler missed a baseline fade away shot.
As soon as overtime began, it was as though the polar vortex had rushed into the Pepsi Center. Denver went 0-7 from three point land and 2-10 overall. Wilson Chander went 0-3 during the period, failed to box out on a jump ball, and threw away an inbound pass. Were these savvy moves by a veteran looking to tank, or mental lapses by a tired and disengaged player used to playing for higher stakes?
The question is not a serious one, but when a team resides in "No Man's Land" every cheer that would otherwise come naturally is slightly reserved. Every miscue is cursed a little softer. The mind plays gymnastics to make any and all outcomes favorable. It really isn't much fun. All I want is the damn Knicks to lose ten straight and have the Nuggets roar back into playoff position, but even if that happened I fear the feeble East would still provide multiple inroads for Melo and his posse to deny us of our precious ping pong balls.
This has the potential to be an exciting stretch for fans to watch the young talent grow before our eyes. I just wish that when the youth step up to the challenge and put us in a position to win, the highest paid players on the court don't blow the game. It wasn't just Chandler. Randy Foye hesitated on a switch which lead to Gerald Green burning him for a jam. J.J. Hickson continues to avoid even pantomiming effective defense. The entire team fails to secure position on defensive rebounds. I want to continue watching because I want to be excited for players like Fournier and Quincy Miller, not so I can dread the multiple years left on the contracts of overpaid veterans who are unable to learn new tricks. Tonight Fours showed us why we should still watch. As long as our young guys reward us with flashes of potential, I will still tune in to cheer them on.
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